• April 19, 2024

Biden to raise Trump-era levels after public outcry

WASHINGTON – The White House said President Joe Biden plans on Friday to increase the number of refugees allowed to be relocated to the United States over the next month, hours after ruling over a surprise decision to keep a Trump-era cap , was shouted out in public.

The government previously said Biden would sign an emergency provision that would maintain the fiscal year target of 15,000 refugee admissions – a historically low number set by former President Donald Trump. The move, an abrupt reversal of his promise to raise the cap to 62,500, resulted in an immediate setback among democratic allies and interest groups.

The order instead lifted refugee admission restrictions for regions previously blocked by the Trump administration, including Africa and the Middle East, and said the president would consult Congress “if we need to increase admissions, to continue to address the unforeseen emergency “.

Hours later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president had consulted with his advisors to determine the number of refugees “realistically accepted” into the United States by the end of the fiscal year, October 1 could.

“Given the program we have inherited to host decimated refugees and the burden on the Office for Refugee Resettlement, its original target of 62,500 seems unlikely,” she said in a statement.

Psaki said Biden had been asked to immediately lift the ban on refugees from certain regions of his predecessor.

“We expect the president to set a final, increased refugee ceiling for the remainder of the fiscal year by May 15,” she said.

State Secretary in February Antony Blinken had announced The US would allow 62,500 refugees to move, saying the move was “justified by grave humanitarian concerns.”

Democrats and human rights groups have blown the earlier announcement that the caps would stay the same for now.

Rep. Ilham Omar, D-Minn., Called Biden’s decision to keep the Trump-era cap “shameful”.

“As a refugee, I know that finding a home is a matter of life or death for children around the world,” tweeted Omar, himself a refugee whose family fled Somalia’s civil war in the 1990s. “It is shameful that @POTUS is failing to keep an important promise to accept refugees.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Called the decision “unacceptable and incomprehensible” and said Biden “broke his promise to restore our humanity.”

“We cannot turn our backs on refugees around the world, including hundreds of refugees who have already been cleared for resettlement, have sold their belongings and are ready to board flights,” she said in a statement.

Biden’s decision is made as the world faces an unprecedented refugee crisis. According to the UN Refugee Agency, there were more than 25 million refugees worldwide in mid-2020.

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A “destroyed” refugee system in the middle of the border crisis

The government has tried to cope with an influx of migrants, especially youth. appear on the southern border of the United States.

Although the refugee resettlement program is separate from border issues, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that “it is a factor”.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement “does the management and has staff working on both issues, so we need to make sure there is the capacity and skills to manage both,” she said.

Psaki added that the delay was partly due to the overhaul needed to rebuild the previous refugee program cut drastically by the Trump administration.

“It took us some time to see and evaluate how ineffective, or in some ways, the refugee processing system was being destroyed. So we had to rebuild and reuse some of those muscles,” she said.

The Trump administration repeatedly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the United States, and Trump himself often attacked immigrants with particularly sharp rhetoric.

During an October 2020 election freeze in Minnesota, Trump attacked Biden directly on the matter. He said Biden would “turn Minnesota into a refugee camp … overwhelming public resources, overcrowded schools and flooding your hospitals”.

The government intends to use all 15,000 slots for fiscal 2021 but will instead change the allocation to include regions excluded under the administration of former President Donald Trump, including Africa, Latin America and South Asia, according to the official, who was over the speech was subject to anonymity in order to discuss the matter.

As of March 31, the US has so far taken in 2,050 refugees below the Trump administration’s 15,000 ceiling, according to the latest data Data from the Refugee Processing Center.

Ahead of Friday’s reversal, Democrats in Congress pushed Biden to formalize the 62,500 refugee ceiling.

“We must keep our promises to people who have fled the unthinkable brutal conditions in their home countries, and live up to our ambitions to offer them a safe haven to start their lives again,” wrote more than 40 House Democrats in a letter Biden. issued shortly before the White House decision.

Democrats, supporters criticize the plan

A key ally of Biden in Congress has blown the Biden government’s decision.

Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that Trump’s maximum limit of 15,000 is the lowest limit on refugee admission since the refugee resettlement program began 40 years ago.

He said the Biden administration’s delay in issuing its revised refugee limit not only reduced the number of refugees allowed into the United States, but also prevented the State Department from accepting screened refugees currently on the system wait and don’t fit into the unprecedentedly narrow refugee categories set by the Trump administration. “

Menendez said the delays mean the US could even accept fewer than 15,000 refugees in what he described as “a shockingly low level of admission set by the previous administration.”

Melanie Nezer, a spokeswoman for HIAS refugee resettlement organization, said the new clarification did not explain that she would have to wait two months to lift restrictive regional allocations, which resulted in flight cancellations and stranded refugees awaiting resettlement.

“To wait two months now, lose those two months and then have the result that we don’t increase the intake, it is almost worse than if he had just come out of the gate and said it. Because we had two months Lost refugee reception, “she said. “They are individual people, they are not numbers.”

She said Psaki’s testimony also fails to explain why the government linked the decision to the border.

“We have relocated refugees in times when there were many asylum seekers at the border and when there were fewer asylum seekers,” she said. “It is somehow inexplicable why we have been able to relocate refugees now as we have for decades.”

Refugees and asylum seekers must prove that they were persecuted in their home country or that they have a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership of a certain social group or political opinion. Refugees make their claims from abroad, while asylum seekers make their claims once they have reached the US

The new allocation allows about 7,000 people to flee Africa from persecution. 1,000 from East Asia; 1,500 from Europe and Central Asia; 3,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean; and 1,600 from the Middle East and South Asia. The administration will reserve an additional 1,000 to use if necessary, according to the official.

The administration will also work with Congress to increase the number of admissions to further address “the unforeseen emergency”, the official said.


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