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Joe Biden Raises US Refugee Limit To 62,500 After Criticism

Joe Biden Raises US Refugee Limit To 62,500 After Criticism

Joe Biden Raises US Refugee Limit To 62,500 After Criticism

The earlier cap “did not reflect America’s values”, Biden said in a statement (File)

Washington:

President Joe Biden announced Monday, after coming under fierce criticism, that he was raising the maximum number of refugees allowed into the this year to 62,500 — up from the 15, cap imposed by his predecessor Donald .

The change follows backlash from allies for Biden’s earlier decision to keep the Trump-era limits — a politically costly moment of confusion that stood out in a White House notable for its iron discipline in the first three months.

“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 course correction was quickly welcomed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is controlled by Biden’s Democratic party.

“I welcome the Biden administration’s announcement that it will increase the number of refugees allowed to be resettled in the United States. This is an important step in continuing our proud, bipartisan tradition of providing refugees protection through resettlement,” the committee chairman, Senator Bob Menendez, tweeted.

Biden needs party unity

Trump clamped down on refugees as part of the hardline border policies at the heart of his nationalist political platform.

Biden campaigned on promises to restore more traditional US attitudes. But he then backtracked after his government ran into difficulties in handling a surge of migrants entering the country illegally, or claiming asylum, at the Mexican border.

Last month, the White House said it needed more time to “rebuild” the post-Trump refugee program and would therefore keep the cap at 15,000 for the year.

After a top Democrat and refugee aid groups slammed Biden’s target as “appallingly low” and “deeply disappointing,” the White House issued a statement hours later saying the low number was only provisional.

In another shift from Trump’s policies, Biden announced in April that quotas were being expanded for refugees from Central America, the Middle East and , while also opening the doors to three mostly Muslim countries — Somalia, Syria and .

With Monday’s announcement, the White House will hope to have calmed the political waters among Democrats just when it needs party unity to push forward on huge proposed social and infrastructure spending plans in an almost evenly divided Congress.

“We are amid the largest global refugee crisis in history, and after four years of slashing admittances to the lowest point on record, we need to return to our leadership position,” another Democratic senator, Tim Kaine, said.

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“I am heartened by today’s announcement that moved toward upholding our values of accepting refugees.”

(Except for the headline, this has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

 

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