President Biden announced an increase in the annual number of refugees allowed in the U.S. to 62,500 for the current fiscal year. Monday’s move comes weeks after the administration backtracked on its initial promise to raise the cap and then reversed that decision after facing criticism.
“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year. 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.
During the presidential campaign and in a February speech to the State Department, Biden said his administration would let as many as 125,000 refugees into the country during his first complete fiscal year in office, which is set to start in October.
But after being deluged by issues at the U.S.-Mexico border to start his presidency, the administration tried to postpone that decision and was greeted with pushback from congressional Democrats and advocacy groups that ultimately led to a reversal and then today’s official announcement.
Biden also announced today that the increase from the current limit of 15,000 set by the Trump administration, will not be met this year.
“The sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” Biden said. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”