SAN DIEGO (TN) – President Joe Biden on Tuesday put the country’s cap on refugee admissions at 125,000 for the 2023 budget year, despite pressure from advocates to raise it even more after falling far short of that target this year. For.
Refugee advocates are pushing the Biden administration to do more to restore the US refugee admissions program. The more than four-decade-old program faced deep cuts under the Trump administration, which saw admissions drop to a record low of 15,000.
After taking office, Biden quadrupled the number of refugee admissions allowed for the remaining months of the 2021 budget year. He then set a target of 125,000 for the 2022 budget year, which ends on 30 September. But so far less than 20,000 refugees have been admitted.
That number does not include the approximately 180,000 Ukrainians and Afghans who came to the United States through a legal process called humanitarian parole, which got them into the country more quickly than the traditional refugee program, but only allows them to stay for two years. Is.
Refugees are provided with a way of permanent residence. Their admissions are determined each year by the president, and federal funding for resettlement agencies is based on the number of people they resettle in a given year.
The target of 125,000 “is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest,” Biden said in his presidential determination. Historically, the average has been 95,000 under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Biden earmarked 5,000 more slots for those in Europe and Central Asia for the 2023 budget year, to give Ukraine a place to accommodate those fleeing the war.
The largest number of slots – 40,000 – were set aside for refugees from Africa, followed by 35,000 from South Asia and 15,000 slots each from East Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Biden has struggled to restore the US refugee program, despite increasing numbers and overcoming bureaucratic hurdles imposed by his predecessor, which slowed the process and caused massive backlogs.
Kris O’Mara Vignaraja, head of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the Biden administration must now act to reform the refugee program as the United Nations reported a record 100 million people were displaced from their homes.
“If this lifesaving program is to remain relevant in the midst of an unprecedented global displacement crisis, it must accelerate and streamline foreign processing of refugee applications,” he said in a statement.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that “this ambitious goal demonstrates that the United States is committed to rebuilding and strengthening the American refugee admission program through a variety of means”. He pointed to plans for a pilot program, expected to run through the end of the year, that would allow regular Americans to sign up to resettle refugees in their communities, just as US citizens did in Afghanistan. And had stepped in to help the Ukrainians. past year.
Traditionally refugees are placed in communities by nine refugee resettlement agencies.
“Our refugee admissions program embodies the best of American values and a desire to help those in need, and will continue to provide access to resettlement as a life-saving, sustainable solution,” Blinken said.