New analysis by the International Rescue Committee reveals that midway through the 2021 fiscal year, only 2,050 refugees have been admitted to the United States, a new historical low despite promises by the Biden administration to immediately increase the number of refugees allowed to resettle into the United States.
While the Biden administration has taken important steps to rebuild the USRAP – issuing the President’s February Executive Order 14013, submitting a revised proposed Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for FY21, and conducting the required consultations with Congress – there has now been an unexplained and unjustified eight-week delay in issuing the revised refugee admissions policy. This delay means that highly restrictive and discriminatory Trump era policies remain firmly in place. As a result, tens of thousands of already-cleared refugees remain barred from resettlement and over 700 resettlement flights have been cancelled, leaving vulnerable refugees in uncertain limbo.
President Biden should act quickly to sign his proposed Presidential Determination, overturning these discriminatory policies, increasing the refugee admissions cap for this year to 62,500 refugees from the historically low current cap of 15,000, and beginning the process of rebuilding the USRAP in earnest. As the administration detailed in its proposal, “To respond to all of these unforeseen and urgent situations, a revised target of 62,500 is proposed and is justified by grave humanitarian concerns and is in the national interest.”