President Biden has raised the cap on the number of refugees admitted to the United States to 62,500 this year. The president’s announcement comes after weeks of backlash from refugee rights groups and some Democrats who condemned Biden’s previous decision to keep the Trump-era refugee cap of 15,000 — a record low. Biden also ended Trump’s restrictions on refugees from Syria, Yemen and Somalia, and added more slots for refugees from Central America, Africa and the Middle East.
Rights groups applauded Biden’s move, as it’s expected it could pave the way for the U.S. to raise its cap to Biden’s original campaign promise of 125,000 refugees by the next fiscal year. However, Biden admitted Monday the U.S. would likely not be able to reach either target this year or next due to the pandemic and roadblocks in the resettlement process, which Biden attributes to the Trump administration.
The humanitarian group World Relief said last month the Biden administration’s claims it needed to fully rebuild the refugee resettlement process were “a completely false narrative” and “a purely political calculation.” Only about 2,000 refugees were resettled in the U.S. between October and March.