New Data Indicate Annual Refugee Admissions on Pace for Historic Lows
August 5, 2021
Contact: Timothy Young | firstname.lastname@example.org | 443-257-6310
In May 2021, President Biden raised the all-time low refugee admissions ceiling set by former President Trump from 15,000 to 62,500. Since taking office, the Biden administration has sought to rebuild the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program after four consecutive years of cuts and a wave of resettlement office closures, further complicated by challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its first full six months in office, the administration has resettled the following numbers of refugees:
- February: 377
- March: 283
- April: 272
- May: 915
- June: 1,530
- July: 1,463
According to the State Department data, the top countries of origin for resettled refugees include the Democratic Republic of Congo (2,783), Ukraine (687), Afghanistan (494), Burma (415), and Syria (414).
“In some ways, these figures represent progress. There is a significant upward trend in recent months, indicating that the administration’s efforts are making an impact,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “However, admissions remain tragically and historically low compared to America’s capacity to welcome and the urgent need of millions of families across the globe.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are 82.4 million displaced people, of which 26.5 million are refugees.
“Given the humanitarian imperative, especially in conflict zones like Afghanistan, we simply have to do better,” noted Vignarajah. “While the challenges are numerous, it is critical that the administration take all necessary steps to restore the program to its full capacity — otherwise, President Biden’s promise to welcome 125,000 refugees in FY2022 will remain out of reach.”