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: In about-face, Biden lifts refugee cap to 62,500

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President Joe Biden said on Monday that he would raise the U.S. refugee admission cap to 62,500 this fiscal year, yielding to critics who had denounced his previous decision to keep the ceiling unchanged at the Trump administration’s 15,000 level.

  • The 15,000 number “did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” Biden said in a statement.
  • The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program “embodies our commitment to protect the most vulnerable. It’s a statement about who we are, and who we want to be,” the president later tweeted.
  • In an executive order two weeks ago, Biden had removed many of the restrictions imposed by the previous administration on which applicants could qualify for the refugee program, but his decision to leave the cap unchanged had drawn the ire of civic organizations and some Democratic lawmakers.
  • Biden had promised during the presidential campaign to raise the refugee ceiling and increase the program, before changing his mind in light of the rising number of migrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico.

From the archives (April 2021): Biden administration resumes U.S. aid to Palestinian refugees

The outlook: The fiscal year is well advanced and Biden acknowledges himself that the 62,500 number will be hard to reach. But he reiterates his presidential campaign pledge of 125,000 refugees, although he admits the U.S. “might not make it the first year.”

Read: What has Biden gotten wrong in his first 100 days? Done right? Analysts sound off.

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