After outcry, White House says Biden will lift refugee cap in May

Earlier on Friday April 16 the Biden administration had said it would keep the number of refugees allowed into the United States this

Hours later, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president is committed to increasing the cap without specifying a number.

Psaki went on to say that the administration's initial goal of settling 62,500 refugees this year, announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in February, was too ambitious given the policies the administration inherited from its predecessors.

Biden had been expected to raise the refugee cap to 62,500 in fiscal year 2021, but his team concluded that target "seems unlikely" - a shortfall that the administration blamed on the state of the refugee program in the wake of the Trump years.

"While finalizing that determination, the president was urged to take immediate action to reverse the Trump policy that banned refugees from many key regions, to enable flights from those regions to begin within days".

Under the presidential determination signed by Biden, the United States will offer refugee status to a wider part of the world than had been allowed by Trump by changing the allocation of refugee slots, the senior administration official said.

Despite his campaign promise, the State Department's recommendation, and a plea from fellow Democrats, Biden will continue with Trump's refugee cap number of 15,000.

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of the agencies involved in refugee resettlement in the USA, had slammed the earlier decision by Biden, saying that while it understands ramping up admissions "can seem daunting", it opposed the Biden administration's move.

"It is deeply disappointing that the administration has elected to leave in place the shameful, record-low admission cap of its predecessor", the group's president and CEO, Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, said in a statement. "We can not turn our back on refugees around the world".

And once you meet that definition, you're referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Menendez, who said that Trump "abdicated America's global leadership" by setting the cap as low as he did, maintained a collegial tone with Biden but emphasized that the new president's decision had hamstrung hundreds of refugees whose transit to the United States was already in process.

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Efforts to lower the number of refugees in the United States even provoked the California progressive to characterize the Trump administration as complicit in atrocities overseas similar to the holocaust of the early 20th-century.

The reversal on Biden's promise to welcome in thousands of families fleeing war and religious persecution signals the president's hesitant approach to rebuilding an immigration system gutted by his successor.

The senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, forecast "much increased admissions numbers in future years".

"It is simply unacceptable and unconscionable that the Biden Administration is not immediately repealing Donald Trump's harmful, xenophobic, and racist refugee cap that cruelly restricts refugee admissions to a historically low level", Jayapal said in a statement. Dick Durbin, and Sen. "But to many refugees today, that light became a flicker".

Ms Psaki said Mr Biden's order on Friday was meant to allow refugee flights to the USA to begin within days.

"Thank God", Omar wrote on Twitter in response to the news.

That logic was also used by the Trump administration to sharply cut refugee numbers, even though it is not quite so simple.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said later that Biden has been consulting with his advisers to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and October 1, the of the fiscal year.

Another concern has been the record pace of unaccompanied migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, which has drawn in numerous resources that would go to vetting, processing and resettling refugees in the US.

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