New York, NY, October 8, 2021 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds today to President Joe Biden’s signing of the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions, which raises the annual refugee admissions goal to 125,000 for fiscal year 2022. This decision fulfills the commitment that President Biden had made as a candidate to set the goal to 125,000 to meet global needs and represents a vital step on the road to rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).
The announcement follows President Biden’s action earlier this year to remove the discriminatory admissions categories set by the previous administration, but that action alone did not repair the damage to the program by the previous administration, evidenced by the historically low number of arrivals for FY21. More work must be done to restore and modernize this life-saving program.
David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said: “President Biden’s action today represents the latest of the bold steps the U.S. is taking to build back humanitarian leadership and refugee protection. It restores and builds upon a long bipartisan legacy that recognized protecting vulnerable populations is the best of U.S. policy and core to the story and idea of America. Despite the Biden Administration’s efforts through its first year, the previous administration’s four years of deeply damaging and short-sighted policy still had lasting impacts and this action represents an important opportunity.
“The urgent relocation of Afghans to the U.S. is an opportunity to reset public understanding of the U.S. refugee resettlement program and policy. Resettlement agencies like the IRC are seeing overwhelming support from the American public, and elected leaders have followed suit. This support provides the opportunity to invest in a robust U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which is paramount for the Biden Administration to effectively respond to growing humanitarian needs and regional crises across the world.
“Congress initiated important policy reform by passing the Continuing Resolution, which provides essential support for the whole-of-government effort to evacuate and resettle Afghans. This reform sets up this once-in-a-generation resettlement effort as a real chance for bold action and system-wide innovation.
“The goals set by President Biden in this presidential determination are a further opportunity to drive planning and reform. Increased refugee admissions and further support for integration programming will further build out the crossroads where U.S.-born Americans and their new American neighbors will intersect, thereby building a stronger sense of common identity and addressing the need to work up community support across the country.
“Across American neighborhoods today, there is historic, bipartisan support for welcoming Afghans and recognition of the need for a strong resettlement program. The U.S. must match the spirit of this moment to fully return to bipartisan pride in U.S. humanitarian leadership. The Biden Administration can do this by dedicating resources to modernize the USRAP to ensure effective and efficient processing; strengthen reception and integration services; and increase community participation in resettlement.”
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.