After criticism, Biden says he will raise United States cap on refugee admissions

Biden Administration, in Response to Criticism, Says It Will Lift Refugee Cap Next Month

However, following swift blowback from Democrats in Congress and beyond, the administration issued another statement - stating that the final refugee cap won't actually be determined until May 15.

"We never said we're not raising the refugee cap", Psaki said. "The Biden-Harris administration will restore America's historic role in protecting the vulnerable and defending the rights of refugees everywhere and raising our annual refugee admission target to 125,000".

"I think what the President has and the White House has said today is that based on what we've now seen from in terms of the inheritance and being able to look at what was in place, what we could put in place, how quickly we could put it in place, it's going to be very hard to meet the 62,000 this fiscal year", Blinken told ABC News, adding that a Trump-era policy prohibition on refugees from the Middle East and Africa "has now been lifted", and refugees in the pipeline are now eligible to seek asylum in the US.

She said that "given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on" a federal office that handles refugees, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Refugee Resettlement, Biden's "initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely".

His commitment to the cap, set by his predecessor Donald Trump, drew criticism from lawmakers and refugee advocacy groups.

Fisher followed-up on the question Psaki brushed past about the criticism from Democrats.

The White House defended the decision by pointing to Trump's destruction of the refugee resettlement program, although resettlement agencies rejected that reasoning, and the situation at the southern USA border, which the administration previously spent weeks downplaying.

"Facing the greatest refugee crisis in our time there is no reason to limit the number to 15,000. Say it ain't so, President Joe", Durbin said in a statement.

U.S. expels Russian diplomats, imposes new sanctions over SolarWinds hack, election interference
Moscow nonetheless said it viewed the prospect of a summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin "positively". In a television interview last month, Biden replied "I do" when asked if he thought Putin was a "killer".

Some 35,000 refugees who have already been vetted and cleared for travel to the US will wait overseas, with over 100,000 more in the pipeline unsure how long they will have to wait as well, according to the International Rescue Committee, a resettlement agency. Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong.

Under Biden's new allocation, 7,000 slots are reserved for refugees from Africa, 1,000 from East Asia, 1,500 from Europe and Central Asia, 3,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 1,500 from the Near East and South Asia.

The Biden administration has been heavily criticized for not doing the same.

"This cruel policy is no more acceptable now than it was during the Trump Administration", Blumenthal said.

Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, an global Jewish humanitarian organization that provides services to refugees and asylum-seekers in 16 countries, said in a statement that Biden had broken his "repeated promises to significantly raise this year's refugee admissions cap".

"It is a factor", said Psaki, noting that the Office of Refugee Resettlement "has personnel working on both issues and so we have to ensure that there is capacity and ability to manage both".

President Joe Biden has for the first time described the recent surge of illegal immigrants along the U.S. -Mexico border as a crisis, in the midst of Republican-led pressure to do so. Also on Friday, the president reversed a Trump-era policy that prioritized admissions for persecuted religious minorities and Iraqis who worked for the US military.

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