Biden retains a marketing campaign promise to soak up extra refugees: NPR
Afghan refugees line up to eat in a dining room in the Doña Ana village of Fort Bliss, New Mexico, where they are housed on Friday. David Goldman / AP hide caption
David Goldman / AP
David Goldman / AP
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration said the US would accept 125,000 refugees and their families next year, fulfilling an earlier promise to raise an upper limit that had been lowered to a historic low under its predecessor.
The White House set the proposed annual cap in a report to Congress, saying there had been unprecedented numbers of displaced people around the world due to conflict, humanitarian crisis and climate change. The administrations issue an annual recommendation in consultation with the legislature.
Officials had previously announced their intention to increase it to 125,000 for the fiscal year beginning October 1.
“The United States pledges to advance efforts to protect and promote permanent solutions to humanitarian crises, including the relocation of the most vulnerable,” the State Department said on Monday when the report was released.
In setting the target, the government said it would focus on several key groups, including Central Americans, Afghans who are at risk because of their affiliation with the United States, LGBQT refugees and members of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group who are the target of the Chinese government are campaigning to exterminate their culture.
US President Donald Trump has capped the number of refugees at 15,000, the lowest level since the 1980 Refugee Act came into force. President Joe Biden has been criticized for slowly addressing it when he took office and eventually pressuring 62,500.
Despite the recent evacuations from Afghanistan, the US will miss that number by the end of the fiscal year on September 30th.
“I applaud the Biden administration for setting a goal of 125,000 refugee admission for the next fiscal year – a goal that my colleagues and I have been advocating since April,” said Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “And while I am disappointed with the projected number of refugees to be admitted this fiscal year, I acknowledge the challenges the Biden administration has taken on with the US Refugee Admissions Program as a result of the previous administration’s anti-immigration policies. “
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