Advocates call for immigration leadership at State as the Biden administration struggles to implement a new refugee cap. Refugee advocates encourage President Joe Biden to "swiftly" appoint a heavyweight figure to a crucial role in grappling with the complicated matter.
Refugee advocates urged the Biden administration to fill the immigration role
Refugee Council USA, a group of refugee advocates and resettlement organizations, wrote a letter to Biden as the administration debated whether to put the immigration cap for the rest of this fiscal year. It also comes when Senate Democrats are putting more pressure on Biden to raise the number from where he is now.
Biden promised in February that the quota would be raised from 62,500 refugees for the current fiscal year to 125,000 the following year. However, the administration declared earlier this month that it would maintain the 15,000 ceiling imposed by former President Donald Trump, who essentially attempted to eliminate the refugee admissions program. Following a barrage of criticism from within the Democratic Party, the Biden administration vowed to release a figure greater than 15,000 by May 15, POLITICO reported.
It was a significant political blunder for the president, who has generally succeeded with good progressives and others with his policies. Biden's refusal to agree to the 62,500 figure came as Republicans pressed him to do so as the number of asylum seekers at the southern border grew. GOP lawmakers and Fox News analysts have blamed Biden for the number of refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has made the administration suspicious of the admissions. Asylum seekers and refugees are two different types of people who go through other screening processes.
The administration stated that one of the reasons it wanted to keep the 15,000 number in place, for the time being, was that it inherited a severely depleted refugee program from the Trump administration, which will take time to repair. On the other hand, refugee resettlement agencies said they have been beefing up their capacities and that a high cap was only supposed to be an aspirational goal, one that will send a message to the rest of the world.
Biden administration to consider raising refugee cap
After dropping earlier proposals for an expansion, the White House is currently reconsidering increasing the refugee cap, as per The Washington Post. The White House is considering expanding the refugee cap to 62,500 people, up from 15,000 under the Trump presidency.
The Biden administration had hoped to raise the refugee quota to 125,000 by the end of President Biden's first year in office, which would necessitate allowing 62,500 refugees fleeing conflict and natural disasters to enter the country. When asked about the Washington Post report on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that meeting a target of 62,500 refugees would still be "challenging."
Psaki acknowledged that the Biden administration inherited a "broken system" from the Trump administration, making Biden and others skeptical of how many refugees the government should receive. But she stressed the importance of sending a "strong message" that the United States welcomes refugees.
Biden's immigration problem is not all Trump's fault
According to MSNBC, the Biden administration may have underestimated how to fix the immigration issues. In assessing the Biden administration's approach to immigration in its first 100 days, it is important to recognize that the problems at hand are so complicated. Many of the processes in play are so severely ignored that lasting change will take much longer than a few months.
The Biden administration is well aware of this and has stated that the root causes of immigration - climate change, political corruption, and conflict - need a regional structure and long-term sustainable investment.
In his speech commemorating his first 100 days in office on Wednesday, the president is expected to discuss this issue. However, even when looking at what is achievable within a 100-day timeframe (which is arbitrary), the effects on immigration are widely diverse.
A whirlwind of executive orders marked the Biden administration's first few weeks. Biden formed a task force to reunite families divided by the Trump administration, moved to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, issued a 100-day immigration moratorium, and revoked the Muslim ban.
The Biden administration also suspended the Migrant Protection Protocols, or "remain in Mexico" scheme, rescinded the Trump great turning rule and the previous administration's changes to the naturalization examination. Also, it ended the "blank space" policy at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, reinstated Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians, and extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to B people. Furthermore, activists praised the administration's policy plan for immigration reform.