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Washington D.C. – President Biden announced today that he will officially raise the refugee admissions ceiling for Fiscal Year 2021 to 62,500 – a significant increase from the record-low 15,000 set by the Trump administration. The move has been described as a “down payment” on the Biden administration’s stated goal of ramping up to 125,000 refugee admissions in Fiscal Year 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of President Biden’s reversal of restrictive Trump-era eligibility categories, which disproportionately barred vetted refugees from African and Muslim-majority nations.
The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the nation’s largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving refugees and vulnerable immigrant communities:
“President Biden has reaffirmed what so many Americans have long known – refugees are welcome here and are a blessing to our communities. The new admissions ceiling reflects our core values as a welcoming nation, and finally aligns public policy with the unprecedented global need of millions forced from their home by violence, war, and persecution. As leader of the free world, the United States has a moral obligation to address this crisis – it’s incredibly heartening to once again see an administration who takes our nation’s humanitarian responsibilities seriously. The work of rebuilding the infrastructure has been underway and will accelerate thanks to President Biden’s determination today to revitalize refugee resettlement.
The Trump Administration aimed to decimate our ability to welcome the most vulnerable fleeing from all over the world. The challenge of ramping up admissions to this level is daunting, but America has risen to the occasion before, and given the global need, we must do it again. Not only is there federal support for this lifesaving work, there is also strong community support across the country and across the political spectrum. Generations of Americans have opened their doors and their hearts to refugees, and their presence has made rural towns and urban centers safer, more vibrant, and economically stronger communities. The innumerable faith congregations that make up our network of support for refugees resettled in their communities can celebrate today that they will once again welcome new families.
Today, we breathe a sigh of relief for our refugee brothers and sisters still in harm’s way, and for the thousands of families who have been forced to delay their reunification for years. We feel hopeful and blessed to be a part of reviving this lifesaving work.”