Washington, DC – Refugee Council USA sent a letter yesterday to President Biden urging that he, in consultation with Congress, set a Presidential Determination (PD) of 200,000 for the 2023 fiscal year (FY23) by September 30, 2022. The determination sets the refugee admissions goal each fiscal year, and is intended to reflect global resettlement needs. Bold US leadership in refugee protection and resettlement has never been higher. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that at least 82.4 million people have been forcibly displaced, including 31 million refugees, of which 1.5 million are in immediate need of resettlement. A robust refugee admissions goal, accompanied by a strong investment of funding and policy improvements to rebuild and renew the resettlement system, will allow the United States to respond to emerging and worsening crises, such as in Ukraine and Afghanistan, while also prioritizing the resettlement of refugees from other countries who have been waiting years for relief, such as Ethiopians, Eritreans, Syrians, Rohingya, and many others
“The world is facing the greatest displacement crisis in history. The United Statescan and should set an ambitious target that reflects global need, and thereby firmly reassert its place as the global leader in resettlement and humanitarian protection,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “The refugee resettlement program is the linchpin of humanitarian protection in the US, and by investing in this essential, life-saving pathway, the US can reinvigorate all its systems of protection and regain its stature as a humanitarian leader. The US Refugee Admissions Program is unique in its flexibility to respond to both new and long-term protracted crises, and this flexibility will be essential to our nation’s ability to ensure equitable access to the most vulnerable in need of protection.
Over the last 10 months, the Biden administration has leveraged humanitarian parole for evacuated Afghans, with similar plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians. RCUSA supports the mobilization of diverse pathways to protection, and maintains that the US Refugee Admissions Program should play a core role in welcoming vulnerable Ukrainians and other refugee nationalities displaced by the hostilities in Ukraine. RCUSA further urges Congress to provide funding and legislative authorizations to provide Ukrainians and other displaced populations fleeing Ukraine who are welcomed through humanitarian parole full resettlement services. RCUSA previously recommended an admissions goal of 200,000 for FY22, partly in response to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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RCUSA is a diverse coalition advocating for just and humane laws and policies, and the promotion of dialogue and communication among government, civil society, and those who need protection and welcome. Individual RCUSA members do not all address all refugee-related issues, nor do all individual members approach common refugee-related issues identically.