RCUSA Welcomes the Biden-Harris Administration’s Commitment to Restore the Refugee Resettlement Program

Washington, DC — The Biden-Harris administration’s Executive Order on Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration is celebrated by the entire US resettlement community. After years of chaos and intentional cruelty, Refugee Council USA welcomes this first important step toward fully restoring the country’s commitment to refugee protection and its role as a bastion of safety in a tumultuous world. Further, RCUSA applauds President Biden’s announced intention to restore the refugee resettlement program by raising the resettlement goal for his first full fiscal year to 125,000 refugees.

“Refugees are teachers, doctors, community leaders, essential workers, and elected officials. They are our neighbors, classmates, friends and family, and our communities and country are made better with their inclusion,” said John Slocum, RCUSA’s interim executive director.  “We are, unequivocally, a stronger country because of refugees’ fortitude and ingenuity; and our future is made bright when we honor our legal and moral commitments to provide welcome. This executive order not only signals a restoration of our refugee program but also opens the door to significant innovations.”

RCUSA welcomes the administration’s strong declaration of support for refugee resettlement, and we hope to see in the coming days a new report to Congress, notifying members of the President’s intent to increase the FY21 Presidential Determination (PD) on Refugee Admissions. The report to Congress should include the restoration of allocations based on vulnerability with slots allocated according to regional needs, resumption of UNHCR referrals, permit flexibility across allocations, and reaffirmation of the administration’s commitment to refugee protection.

With our member organizations, we commend the Biden-Harris administration for rescinding the remaining bans and proclamations that have harmed refugees, people seeking asylum, the stateless, and all immigrants, and families. We look forward to working with the administration in a proactive demonstration of our commitment to protection — a reaffirmation of our country’s commitment to welcome.

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.