Biden raises refugee cap to 62,500 amid progressive outcry

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President Joe Biden announced on Monday that he is raising the cap on refugees admitted into the country to 62,500, up from the 15,000 cap the administration said would remain in place last month. 

The move comes after the administration faced backlash from progressives who blasted the president for maintaining the the number put in place by the Trump administration.

Democratic lawmakers on the party’s left flank slammed Biden for not meeting the 62,500 cap, despite plans to raise it to 125,000 for fiscal year 2022, which were laid out in his proposal to Congress earlier this year.

Shortly after the blowback, the White House reversed course stating it would unveil a number higher than the 15,000 cap by mid-May. 

“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year. This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” Biden said in a statement. 

“The new admissions cap will also reinforce efforts that are already underway to expand the United States’ capacity to admit refugees, so that we can reach the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions that I intend to set for the coming fiscal year.”

The president noted that it’s unlikely that the US will hit the 62,500 cap this year, with 2,050 refugees having been admitted to the country as of March 31. 

“The sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year. We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway,” he said.  

“We have reopened the program to new refugees. And by changing the regional allocations last month, we have already increased the number of refugees ready for departure to the United States.”

Biden vowed to move forward with his goal of 125,000 next fiscal year. 

“The budget that I have submitted to Congress also reflects my commitment to the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions in the first fiscal year of my presidency. That goal will still be hard to hit. We might not make it the first year,” he said.  

“But we are going to use every tool available to help these fully-vetted refugees fleeing horrific conditions in their home countries. This will reassert American leadership and American values when it comes to refugee admissions.”

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