Under political duress, President Joe Biden promised to allow four times as many refugees this budget year as his predecessor, but refugee organizations believe the overall volume admitted will be closer to former President Donald Trump’s record-low ceiling of 15,000 refugees.
Refugee activists say they are pleased again for rise because it shows the world that the United States is once again a humanitarian leader at a time when the world refugee population is at its greatest since World War II. They are also dissatisfied because more migrants may have been allowed if Biden had not delayed.
“About 10,000 to 15,000 is what we’re expecting,” said Jenny Yang of World Relief, adding that Biden’s inaction for months after taking office in January was “definitely problematic.”
“That delay meant not being able to process refugee applications for four months. We weren’t able to rebuild for four months, so it really was unfortunate,” Yang said.
Biden advocated lifting the ceiling to 62,500 in a plan submitted to Congress in February, but then declined to sign off on it for two months before returning on April 16 and saying he was staying with Trump’s goal.
Democratic supporters and refugee activists chastised him for breaking an election promise in the face of bipartisan criticisms over his handling of an uptick in unaccompanied and separated minors at the US-Mexico border.
“To be clear: The asylum process at the southern border and the refugee process are completely separate immigration systems. Conflating the two constitutes caving to the politics of fear,” said Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Biden upped the cap a few weeks later, on May 3.
Less then approximately 2,500 refugees have entered so far this year, with less than five months until the fiscal year closes on September 30.
More than 35,000 refugees have been screened and authorized to enter the United States, but many have been denied due to the stringent qualifying requirements Trump established when he set the low threshold in October.
According to resettlement organizations, by the time Biden broadened eligibility, many health examinations and paperwork were no longer valid. And if a baby was born during that period, the entire family might be put on hold.