Biden Is On Track To Accept Fewer Refugees Than Trump Despite Promises For Expansion

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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President Joe Biden previously claimed his administration would raise the annual refugee cap in February but still has not signed the change into effect, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Biden said he would raise the annual allotment for refugees from former President Donald Trump’s cap of 15,000 to a new cap of 125,000 for the fiscal year 2021, but has not signed the presidential determination required to make the change official, The Post reported. Since Biden has not signed the order, Trump’s cap of 15,000 remains in effect and Biden remains on track to accept a historically low number of refugees.

Around 2,050 total refugees have been admitted to the U.S. since October 2020, the International Rescue Committee reported Friday. It has been eight weeks since Biden announced the changes to the refugee cap and presidential determinations are typically signed shortly after the official notice, The Post reported.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) estimated the Biden administration will accept approximately 4,500 refugees this year, less than half the number Trump admitted during his last year in office, The Post reported.

Biden’s January executive order also included restructuring federal programs for resettling refugees, rolling back some of Trump’s immigration policies and bans on specific countries.

“I don’t know the specific reason why [Biden] hasn’t signed, and it’s really unusual that he hasn’t signed,” IRC Vice President for Global Policy and Advocacy Nazanin Ash said. “It is typically a standard, automatic last step in the process.”

The Biden administration has admitted around 40 Syrian refugees with Trump’s policies in place that disproportionately affect refugee seekers from Muslim countries, according to the IRC. (RELATED: Biden’s Plan To Increase Refugees Will ‘Overwhelm’ Cities, Trump Says)

Biden requested $4.3 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, $345 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to support the intake of more refugees and $10 billion to allocate for humanitarian assistance in other countries for fiscal year 2022, The Post reported.

Around 140 refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been accepted this year, and the Biden administration could use refugee resettlement in addressing the increasing number of migrants arriving at the southern border because of displacement in Central America, according to the IRC.

Customs and Border Protection encountered over 172,000 migrants including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors and 99,600 single adults, according to the agency.

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