Biden proposes raising refugee cap from historic low set by previous administration

Daily Kos’ Laura Clawson wrote last week that President Biden’s visit to the State Department, which oversees the resettlement of refugees to the U.S., “sen[t] an unmistakable message … that priorities have changed in the federal government. Raising the number of people who can be admitted to the U.S. isn’t just a matter of naming a number: During the Trump years, the institutions and processes for vetting and resettling people were gutted, and will have to be rebuilt.”

Resettlement organizations that have worked with the federal government for years to help families build new lives in America noted that raising limits after the past four years will be no easy task, but nevertheless welcomed Biden’s news. “HIAS welcomes @POTUS‘ proposal to raise the refugee admissions ceiling to 62,500 for the rest of this fiscal year,” the organization tweeted. “It is ambitious with #COVID19 and a decimated refugee resettlement infrastructure, but we are ready to welcome as many people as possible.” 

Church World Service director of policy and advocacy Meredith Owen told CBS News that “[h]ope has been restored to refugee families who have been waiting for years for safety—including refugees who were approved to travel and rejoin family in the U.S. before the program was slashed to all time lows. We can’t wait to finally welcome them home.”

The Biden administration must still formally consult with Congress on the new limits, a law the previous administration violated numerous times. In what would turn out to be its final time setting refugee limits, the previous administration last year skipped its lawfully required meeting for nearly a month, meeting with House and Senate Judiciary Committee members three weeks after the deadline. It wasn’t even the first time the administration has pulled that, legislators said at the time. It was the third time. And, mercifully, its last.

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