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Biden restores higher refugee ceiling

President Joe Biden responded Monday to criticism of his refugee policy. Associated Press/ Photo by Patrick Semansky

Biden restores higher refugee ceiling

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden moved Monday to raise the cap on refugee admissions this year to 62,500, the number he promised after taking office. Just weeks ago, he waffled on that commitment by signing a document that kept former President Donald Trump’s quota of 15,000. “The sad truth is we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” Biden said, blaming the Trump administration for the slow start to refugee resettlement this year. The statement did not acknowledge his own actions that have kept admissions low.

Why the back and forth? Biden originally claimed that he needed to keep a refugee ceiling of 15,000 because of a surge of asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. He said the government could not handle both at once. The processes for handling immigration and refugee resettlement are distinct and have separate funding streams in the federal government. Biden’s justification drew bipartisan criticism. Christian groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission also called on Biden to follow through on his original pledge, which would hasten the resettlement of persecuted religious minorities.

Dig deeper: Read my report on how Biden’s delay in raising the cap has put the United States on track to admit fewer refugees than any of his recent predecessors.

Harvest Prude

Harvest is a former political reporter for WORLD’s Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate.


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