WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Monday announced he would raise the cap on the number of refugees admitted to the United States to 62,500 for this fiscal year, following criticism last month after announcing he would maintain a limit on Trump era for this category.
“This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” Biden said in a statement.
“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 lives.”
After announcing in April that it would keep the number of refugees admitted at 15,000, and strong criticism from Democrats, the White House abruptly changed course, promising to announce an increase in the cap by May 15.
Biden notified Congress in February that he would increase the number of refugees allowed into the country to 62,500, but did not sign the presidential ruling that would in fact increase the cap.
Still, he said on Monday that “the sad truth is that we won’t get 62,500 admissions this year,” citing the “damage” President Donald Trump has done to the refugee program.
In the statement, Biden said he pledged to raise the cap to 125,000 refugees for the next fiscal year, which begins in October, but said “that goal will always be elusive.”