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Biden lifts ceiling on Trump-era refugees after backlash

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Biden said the new refugee limit erased the historically low number set by the previous administration.

WASHINGTON President Joe Biden officially raised the country’s refugee ceiling to 62,500 on Monday, weeks after facing a bipartisan force backlash for his delay in lifting the country’s 15,000 limit. former President Donald Trump.

Last month, Biden decided to expand the eligibility criteria for resettlement, removing a roadblock for refugees entering the United States put in place by Trump, but he initially stopped before lifting the annual cap, assistants saying they didn’t think it was necessary. But Biden faced strong opposition not to at least take the symbolic step of allowing more refugees into the United States this year and quickly turned the tide.

Biden, in a statement, said the new limit erased the historically low number set by the previous administration, adding that Trump’s cap did not reflect the values ​​of the Americas as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees. “

It is important to take this step today to remove any lingering doubts in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much and eagerly await the start of their new lives, Biden added.

Biden said it was a sad truth that the United States would not hit the 62,500 cap by the end of the fiscal year in September, given the pandemic and the limitations of the country’s resettlement capacity. , which his administration attributed in part to the Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policies. That said, they maintain that Biden remains committed to setting the cap at 125,000 for the 2022 fiscal year that begins in October, as they work to improve U.S. capabilities to process refugees so that they can accept as many as possible under. the new ceiling. .

Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress on February 12 of a plan to increase the admissions cap to 62,500, but no presidential decision followed. In an April 16 emergency declaration, Biden said the admission of up to 15,000 refugees set by Trump this year remains justified on humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest.

Failure to release a new ruling undermines your stated goal of reversing the refugee policies of your predecessors, New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to Biden.

The new allowance instituted by Biden added more niches for refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central America and ended Trump’s restrictions on resettlement from Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

“The sad truth is that we will not reach 62,500 admissions this year. We are working quickly to repair the damage of the past four years. It will take time, but that work is already underway,” Biden said on Monday. “We reopened the program to new refugees. And by changing regional allocations last month, we have already increased the number of refugees ready to leave for the United States.”

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