RCUSA “shocked and outraged” from refugee admissions news

Washington, DC — After four years of the United States refugee resettlement being maliciously targeted, President Biden promised to restore the program, stating he would raise the refugee admissions goal to 62,500 for the remainder of FY21, on the way toward 125,000 the following year. Today, the President broke his promise. After having made the case to Congress in February for the 62,500 proposed goal, today President Biden reversed course, signing a revised Presidential Determination (PD) that leaves Trump’s anti-refugee legacy well intact with a record-low admissions goal of 15,000.

Although the PD restores regional allocations, thereby undoing the previous administration’s harmfully restrictive and prejudicial resettlement categories, the delay in formalizing the PD has caused irreparable harm to thousands of refugees who now face months — if not years — before they can be resettled and reunited with loved ones. The United States has the capacity to welcome refugees and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children. These programs operate in tandem, and there is no moral justification to turn our backs on those we have pledged to welcome.

“Refugee Council USA is shocked and outraged by this news. For years, refugees around the world have been waiting in danger and uncertainty as the former President stripped them of their opportunities to find safety and reunion. President Biden’s inauguration provided renewed hope for thousands seeking refuge, but today’s news has dashed those hopes — for refugees and the communities who want to welcome them,” said RCUSA’s interim executive director John Slocum. “We know that restoring welcome and rebuilding resettlement will take time, and our communities have continuously declared that they are ready and willing to welcome all who seek refuge. But we also need the will of the President. Today’s decision suggests that ‘build back better’ doesn’t include refugees. We urge the President to welcome as many refugees as possible this fiscal year and invest in rebuilding the resettlement program so that we can truly resettle 125,000 next year.”

Media Contact: Sarah Seniuk, sseniuk@rcusa.org

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.