President Biden to admit more refugees during Fiscal Year 2021
On Monday, May 3, after a wave of gigantic social controversy, President Joe Biden raised the refugee limit for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021 (FY / October-September) to 62,500, just as he promised before the presidential election and after taking office at the end of January.
In the official statement, the current president stated that Trump’s refugee limit “did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees”. At the same time, Biden explained that, due to multiple circumstances, the number of refugees entering the country during the remaining months of the year may not reach the new limit.
To understand the magnitude of this news, it is important to know about what happened to the refugee limit during the last four years, under the Donald Trump administration. Initially, it is worth mentioning that the US government has the obligation to establish an annual refugee limit, who are people in need of international protection due to risky situations such as persecution, war and violence, which forces them to flee their countries of origin.
Former President Trump always wanted to remove humanitarian alternatives and build a merit-based immigration system, where only highly qualified foreigners could enter the US. Therefore, during his term (2017-2021), his administration substantially reduced the annual refugee cap.
Let’s look at some important facts:
- For FY 2020, former President Trump lowered the refugee limit to 18,000, a fairly low number compared to his predecessor Barack Obama, who admitted 100,000 refugees annually.
- For FY 2021, former President Trump further lowered the refugee limit to 15,000, the lowest number in the country’s recent history.
Now that President Biden has raised the refugee limit to 62,500, immigrant communities hope that his administration will continue to improve the immigration system and repair the damage caused by the Trump administration. Adding to that, Biden plans to increase the refugee cap to 125,000 beginning in FY 2022.
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The Biden administration doubted whether to raise the refugee limit or not
Recently, the Biden administration faced a colossal controversy because, initially, it had stated that it would not increase the refugee cap for FY 2021, but instead keep Trump’s limit. However, after receiving countless criticism, press secretary Jen Psaki stated that the Biden administration indeed planned to raise the refugee limit, but in mid-May.
Several critics argued that the reason why the Biden administration did not want to increase this number was because it feared an immigration crisis related to the surge of illegal border crossings.
Now that his administration will admit more refugees during the remaining months of the FY, multiple humanitarian organizations and activist groups are hoping for more positive changes to the immigration system.
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