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Biden stands firm on 125,000 refugee admissions cap for 2023

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 9/28/2022 Darryl Coote
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a 125,000 refugee admissions cap form fiscal year 2023 amid a series of humanitarian crisis, such as the war in Ukraine, which have displaced some 100 million worldwide. Photo by Darek Delmanowicz/EPA-EFE © Darek Delmanowicz/EPA-EFE The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a 125,000 refugee admissions cap form fiscal year 2023 amid a series of humanitarian crisis, such as the war in Ukraine, which have displaced some 100 million worldwide. Photo by Darek Delmanowicz/EPA-EFE

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Tuesday set the nation's cap on refugee admissions for fiscal year 2023 at 125,000, standing firm with last year's limit despite calls from advocates to increase the number of refugees allowed into the country.

The memorandum issued by the White House on Tuesday states the number is "justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest."

The document allocates 40,000 admissions from Africa, 35,000 from near East and South Asia and 15,000 from each of East Asia, European and Central Asia and Latin America/Caribbean.

Another 5,000 admissions have been set aside to be allocated later as needed, it said.

The only difference from last year is a shift of 5,000 unallocated admissions to Europe and Central Asia, seemingly to accommodate refugees fleeing from the war in Ukraine.

"Our refugee admissions program embodies the best of American values and the will to help those in need, and it will continue to provide access to resettlement as a lifesaving durable solution," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The allocation was met with applause by the New York-based nonprofit International Rescue Committee, which said in a statement Tuesday that it looks forward to working with the Biden administration to rebuild the arrivals pipeline and processing infrastructure to meet demands.

"Now, the U.S. government must lead the way as a humanitarian leader and set a global example by modernizing the refugee resettlement program, and we are excited to be their partner in ensuring this goal becomes a reality," said Hans Van de Weerd, senior vice president for resettlement, asylum and integration at the IRC.

Though it is the second year of allocating 125,000 admissions for refugees, it marks an about face from the low of 15,000 total admissions permitted for fiscal year 2021 by then-President Donald Trump.

Despite the increase from the previous administration, refugee advocates had been calling on Biden to set an admissions goal of 200,000, which the United Church of Christ said would "signal to the world that the United States is serious about restoring moral leadership" while showing allies "that we're committed to doing our part."

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, president and chief executive of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the Biden administration has taken strives to rebuild its refugee program following its dismantling under Trump, but it still has a long way to go.

"It must ramp up and streamline overseas processing or refugee applications if this lifesaving program is to remain relevant amid unprecedented global displacement crisis," she said in a statement.

"Our nation's reputation as the world's beacon of hope demands a system that can respond efficiently and consistently to forced displacement, whether that be Afghan interpreters left behind, Venezuelan families fleeing communist authoritarianism, dissidents from Hong Kong defending democracy or religious minorities like Rohingya & Uighur Muslims persecuted solely for their faith."

The allocation was set as the world grapples with multiple humanitarian crises that the United Nations said have displaced a "staggering" 100 million people, that equates to about one in every 78 people on Earth being forced from their home.

The number is an increase of more than 10 million people from a year prior, the U.N. said, and well more than double the number of displaced people a decade ago.

"With so many lives on the line, the admin must take urgent action to restore our global humanitarian leadership in refugee resettlement," Vignarajah said.

 

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