New York, NY, March 5, 2021 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) calls on the Biden Administration to urgently set an emergency refugee admissions goal for this fiscal year. Immediate action is necessary to reunite families, provide hope for thousands after years of uncertainty, and to turn the page on the arbitrary and inhumane policies of the previous administration.
Hans Van De Weerd, Vice President of Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration at the IRC, said:
“232 individuals expected by the IRC saw the cancellation of their flights as they waited for the President to sign the order revising the refugee admissions goal. Many of these are families who had been barred by the Trump Administration’s limiting categories, which targeted Muslims and many refugees from some of the world’s worst refugee crises, including in Africa and the Middle East.
“As we enter the third month that the previous administration’s harmful refugee admissions policy remains in place, including all-time low admissions goals and discriminatory categories, we are now seeing heartbreaking accounts of families being separated and vulnerable people desperately waiting for America to show global humanitarian leadership. The Biden Administration needs to urgently issue a revised refugee admissions policy consistent with their report to Congress, committing to 62,500 admissions this year and removing restrictive categories that unfairly bar Muslim and African refugees, so that refugee arrivals in the U.S. can resume immediately.
“After a torrent of confusing and xenophobic policy over the last four years, Americans and refugees alike are looking to the Biden Administration to right the course, restore access to resettlement for those most in need, and galvanize other countries to increase their resettlement commitments. The U.N. Refugee Agency has identified 1.4 million people in desperate need of resettlement. Now is the time for America to restore its global leadership and usher in an era of global cooperation to solve the unprecedented refugee crisis we are facing."
The IRC also calls on the Administration to further improve the USRAP by modernizing and strengthening the welcome and support refugees receive once in the United States, including by promoting innovation, increased flexibility, and data-driven programming. The IRC has published a roadmap of necessary reforms needed to restore the USRAP and lay the foundations for robust refugee admissions for years to come.