Biden Seeks to Double Refugee Admissions Cap to 125,000 for 2022

POLITICS & POLICY
President Joe Biden delivers remarks about Afghanistan, from the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., August 26, 2021.
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Biden administration announced on Monday that it is seeking to increase the refugee-admissions cap to 125,000 for fiscal year 2022, in line with a goal set by President Biden in February.

The State Department will consult with the Department of Homeland Security and Congress to increase the cap. The department announced it had sent a report to relevant congressional committees recommending “an increase in the refugee admissions target from 62,500 in Fiscal Year 2021 to 125,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 to address needs generated by humanitarian crises around the globe.”

The new fiscal year begins next month.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks forward to “a meaningful exchange with Members of Congress” on the administration’s proposed cap.

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President Biden had previously flip-flopped on his refugee ceiling goals, announcing in May that he would raise the refugee ceiling to 62,500 this fiscal year after being met with Democratic outrage when he announced plans to keep the lower Trump-era cap in place.

“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year,” Biden said in a statement in May. “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.”

He added then: “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.”

Biden said at the time that the “the sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year.” From October to August, just 7,637 refugees were admitted to the U.S., according to the Refugee Processing Center.

The new proposed increase comes as the U.S. works to process thousands of Afghan refugees following the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover.

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