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President Biden, here in the White House on April 15, announced Monday that his administration is lifting the cap on the number of refugees who can be admitted to the country during this fiscal year. Andrew Harnik / AP .

rock legend Andrew Harnik / AP

President Biden, here in the White House on April 15, announced Monday that his administration is lifting the cap on the number of refugees who can be admitted to the country during this fiscal year.

Andrew Harnik / AP

President Biden announced Monday that his administration is raising the refugee admissions ceiling to 62,500 for this fiscal year, well above the 15,000 limit set by the Trump administration, but below an earlier campaign pledge.

“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 who are eagerly awaiting the start of their new life,” the president said in a statement.

Biden said the previous cap “did not reflect America’s values ​​as a nation” and that the United States had a “commitment to protect the most vulnerable.”

But in April, the Biden administration escaped an announcement around the ceiling initially saying it would keep former President Donald Trump’s ceiling low, but later, after criticism from fellow Democrats, claiming it would give following an election promise to allow more refugees into the country this exercise.

Even with the 15,000 cap in place so far, only around 2,000 refugees had been admitted as of the end of March, in the first half of fiscal 2021, according to the Refugee Processing Center.

Biden acknowledged in his statement on Monday that the 62,500 level would not actually be reached, accusing his predecessor’s work of putting the administration so behind schedule in achieving its goal.

“The sad truth is that we won’t get 62,500 admissions this [fiscal] year. We are working quickly to repair the damage of the past four years. It will take time, but this work is already underway, ”Biden said.

Biden has vowed to aim for his campaign goal of 125,000 refugee admissions in the next fiscal year, which begins in October. “This goal will always be elusive. We may not achieve it in the first year. But we will use all the tools available to help these fully vetted refugees fleeing the horrific conditions in their home countries.”

Under current allocations, the United States will be able to accommodate the largest number of refugees, 22,000, from Africa. Thousands more are expected from East and South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, and more.

Oxfam, the humanitarian organization, praised the Biden administration for raising the ceiling, but criticized Biden and Trump for time wasted helping in global refugee crises.

“We are relieved that the Biden administration has, after a long and unnecessary delay, kept its promise to raise the refugee admission limit for this year to 62,500,” said Noah Gottschalk, head of global policy at Oxfam America, in a statement. “This announcement means the United States can finally begin to rebuild the life-saving refugee resettlement program and welcome the tens of thousands who have been left behind by four years of the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies and three months of inaction by the Biden administration. “

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