Today President Biden walked back his commitment to increase refugee resettlement for 2021. At the start of his administration, President Biden announced that he would increase the U.S. resettlement quota to 62,500 this year, citing grave humanitarian concerns around the world, and the importance of U.S. leadership in supporting refugees at this pivotal moment in history when more than 1% of humanity is displaced by conflict and violence.
Instead, President Biden decided to maintain the 15,000 limit put in place by the former President, the lowest in our country’s 40-year proud history of resettlement. The rationale given was the increasing concerns of arrivals at the southern border.
The impact is devastating for thousands of children and families who have already gone through the rigorous admissions process, which includes interviews with Department of Homeland Security officers and other officials, security checks, medical exams, and other steps. These refugees, who have already been approved to come to the U.S., were identified due to their precarious or life-threatening circumstances or the need to reunite with family members already in the U.S.
RefugePoint expresses its profound concern and solidarity for all those left in limbo today. As an organization identifying refugees for resettlement across the African continent, where resettlement needs are among the greatest globally, and in the Middle East and other locations of concern, our staff work with and support refugees every day. We know first-hand the devastating impact President Biden’s announcement has on families and children who were waiting to travel, and on their family members and communities in the U.S. ready to receive them.