Washington, DC – Yesterday evening, President Biden signed the Presidential Determination (PD), setting the refugee admissions ceiling for fiscal year 2023 to 125,000. We are encouraged that the President signed the FY23 refugee admissions goal after consulting with Congress (as required by US law) and before the October 1st start of the federal fiscal year. Earlier this year, RCUSA had recommended that President Biden set a goal of 200,000 – an ambitious number reflecting the growing global need for refugee resettlement and the demonstrated ability of the administration to scale up services. Over the last year, the United States only resettled about one-fifth of the year’s refugee admissions goal through the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), but an additional 105,000 Afghans and Ukrainians were welcomed through humanitarian parole, a temporary form of protection provided through Operation Allies Welcome and the Uniting for Ukraine program.
We recognize that the refugee admissions goal is a promise toward continuing to rebuild the US resettlement program and RCUSA calls on the administration to turn this promise into practice, investing in our nation’s capacity to provide welcome and significantly increasing refugee arrivals. Our coalition urges Congress and the administration to work together to provide robust funding for the US refugee resettlement program in the FY23 budget.
“Over this last year, due to new and ongoing humanitarian crises around the world, we’ve seen a record-setting increase in forced displacement,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “Our nation’s resettlement system has risen to the challenge, bolstered by the mobilization of new community-centered efforts to offer support and welcome to refugees and displaced people. Despite the previous administration’s attempts to dismantle resettlement, President Biden, Congress, nonprofit agencies, corporate partners, and ordinary Americans from across the country have demonstrated that it is possible – with the proper support and adequate resources – to build out significant pathways of welcome. The US Refugee Admissions Program is the cornerstone of humanitarian protection. It provides core services and a pathway to permanent status – factors that are key to ensuring long-term safety, economic opportunity, and a dignified life for forcibly displaced people. The US economy and the country as a whole benefits enormously from the presence of these newcomers. Our elected officials must rebuild and reinvest in this essential program to successfully meet the 125,000 admissions goal. We know it is possible.”
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.
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