Joe Biden issued a statement Monday that he is reversing his decision to retain the Trump administration’s cap on refugees. Just last month, Biden announced he would keep Trump’s cap in place. The cap on the number of refugees will be raised from 15,000 to 62,500.
Why now? Biden is in a tight spot with both progressives and conservatives over the crisis on the southern border. The humanitarian and public health crisis is of his own making because he has moved quickly to reverse most of the Trump administration’s border policies that were working. Biden just wants to show that he is not Donald Trump and it doesn’t matter to him that he is sacrificing border security and the sovereignty of the United States to do so.
When Biden announced that he would keep Trump’s cap on refugees at 15,000, it was the right thing to do. The progressive left disagreed and immediately objected to Biden’s decision. They questioned how he could be so hard-hearted and cruel as to retain a Trump policy. As the hissy fits raged on, Biden caved to the special interest groups advocating for open borders. Just one day later, Press Secretary Jen Psaki circled back with reporters and walked back Biden’s statement. She admitted that Biden knew he would not be able to meet his original goal. The cap at 15,000 was not a final cap on refugees, you know. Psaki quickly blamed the Trump administration for the incompetency of the Biden administration.
“For the past few weeks, he has been consulting with his advisers to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and Oct. 1. Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely,” Psaki said at the time.
So on Monday Biden caved to the progressive left, as is his tendency, and announced that the cap is now at 62,500. And, no, he will not be able to meet that number between now and the end of the year. Talk about setting himself up for failure. Biden can’t get out of his own way when it comes to border policy.
“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year,” Biden said in a statement. “This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.”
“It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin,” Biden added.
The administration announced in a separate memorandum that of the 62,500 slots being made available, 22,000 would be allocated to refugees coming from Africa, 13,000 to those from the Middle East and South Asia, 6,000 to those from East Asia, 4,000 to those from Europe and Central Asia, 5,000 to those from Latin America and the Caribbean and the remaining 12,500 would remain unallocated.
The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program embodies our commitment to protect the most vulnerable. It’s a statement about who we are, and who we want to be. That’s why today, I revised our annual cap from 15,000 — a historic low set by the previous administration — to 62,500.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 3, 2021
Sure, what’s a commitment to grant refugee status to an additional 47,500 when thousands of illegal migrants are flooding the border asking for asylum on a daily basis? What could possibly go wrong? Biden acknowledged that his new goal will not be met this year. He’s going through the motions and getting the win for open-border progressives anyway. It’s the optics, baby. It is important to show that Biden isn’t Trump.
“The sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” he wrote in the announcement.
“We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”
Biden’s original goal, as he stated in February, was to raise the refugee cap to 125,000 by the end of his first year in office.
Biden’s left flank is pleased. They are even using the Democrat talking point that Biden “inherited” a broken immigration system from Trump. That is some pretty strong gaslighting right there.
“I am grateful that President Biden listened to our call to action and is building on the swift work he did during his first 100 days to begin reversing Trump’s all-out draconian assault on immigrants,” Jayapal said in a statement. “While this new administration inherited a broken immigration system that was gutted and sabotaged by the previous president, it is on all of us to fix it — quickly. Today’s announcement is a critical step.”
“We are relieved that the Biden administration has, after a long and unnecessary delay, kept its promise to raise the refugee admissions cap for this year to 62,500,” Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America’s global policy lead, said in a statement.
“This announcement means the United States can finally begin to rebuild the life-saving refugee resettlement program and welcome the tens of thousands of people who have been left stranded by four years of the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies and three months of the Biden administration’s inaction.”
In Biden’s notification letter to the State Department, the department responsible for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, he said he has been assured that the department’s personnel can handle the additional number of refugees along with their other demands. While Biden’s goal is to squash the bad publicity he and his administration receives over the border crisis, the truth is that this is one more bad decision from Joe Biden that will result in more of the same negative criticism. He’ll deserve it. It is not compassionate or humane to increase confusion on the border.