SAN DIEGO, Calif. – President Joe Biden on Tuesday formally set the refugee entry limit for fiscal year 2023 at 125,000, despite looking to raise it even more after falling far short of the target this year. Despite pressure from workers.
Refugee advocates were pressing the Biden administration to do more to restore the US refugee admissions program. The more than four-decade-old program saw sharp cuts during Donald Trump’s presidency, bringing the number to an all-time low of 15,000.
After taking office, Biden quadrupled the number of accepted refugee admissions for the remaining months of fiscal year 2021. He then set a target of 125,000 for the fiscal year 2022, which will end on September 30. But to date, less than 20,000 refugees have been admitted.
Britain and Afghanistan are not included in this figure.
This figure excludes the approximately 180,000 Ukrainians and Afghans who came to the United States through humanitarian parole, a legal process that allows them to expedite their entry into the country compared to the regular refugee program, but only allows them to Allows to last for years.
Refugees are provided with a way of permanent residence. Their admission is decided each year by the president, and the resources allocated to agencies to relocate these people are based on the number of people who are in charge in a given year.
The target of 125,000 refugees is “justified on humanitarian grounds or in any case in the national interest,” Biden said in his presidential ruling. Historically, the average has been 95,000 in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Biden allocated 5,000 more spots for people in Europe and Central Asia in fiscal year 2023 to accommodate those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The largest number of refugee admissions, 40,000, were allocated to Africa, followed by South Asia at 35,000, East Asia at 15,000, Europe to 15,000 and Latin America.
Problem reinstalling program
Biden has struggled to restore the refugee program despite rising numbers and bureaucratic hurdles to overcome, slowing the process and leading to a huge backlog of cases.
Kris O’Mara Vignaraja, director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the Biden administration must act now to reform the US refugee program, after the United Nations reported a record 100 million people were displaced from their homes.
“If you want this lifesaving program to remain relevant in the midst of an unprecedented global displacement crisis, you must expedite the processing of refugee claims abroad,” he said in a statement.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that “this ambitious target reflects Washington’s commitment to rebuilding and strengthening America’s refugee admissions program through a variety of means”. He mentioned among the plans a pilot program, set to begin by the end of the year, that would allow US citizens to sign up to resettle refugees in their communities, as he did last year for Afghans and Ukrainians. did with.
Typically, nine resettlement agencies place refugees in communities.
“Our refugee admissions program embodies the best of American values and a desire to help those in need, and will continue to provide access to resettlement as a life-saving sustainable solution,” Blinken said.