Story at a glance

  • Sources say that Biden is set to lift the cap on the number of refugees allowed entry within a budgetary year.
  • The new rule will go into effect Oct. 1.

In one of the sharpest pivots from Trump administration policies, President Biden will reportedly notify Congress that he will begin increasing the amount of admissions the U.S. gives to refugees.

Sources tell The Associated Press that Biden intends to make the announcement this week. The plan is to lift any caps on the number of refugees permitted into the U.S., approximately eight times the level seen during the Trump administration.

Biden is expected to announce the plan during a visit to the U.S. State Department.

This increase could amount to 125,000 refugees accepted into the U.S., compared with former President Trump’s cap of 15,000 admissions. 

While Biden may not outright reverse Trump’s limit at 15,000 per budgetary year, he would instead propose the new larger figure to take place at the onset of the next budgetary year, beginning Oct. 1.

Immigration and refugee policy was a controversial part of Trump administration policies. Between the pandemic choking travel worldwide and Trump’s strict refugee policy, 2020 saw the lowest number of refugees compared to data from the early '80s leading up to the present.

Human rights organizations and refugee advocates applaud the move and hope to see it enacted soon.

“We hope that President Biden will substantially raise the refugee admissions goal immediately, as he consistently committed to on the campaign trail,” said Sunil Varghese of the New York-based International Refugee Assistance Project. “The president has the authority to raise refugee admissions mid-year to address the many humanitarian crises in the world, including those that have emerged or escalated recently, such as the situation facing pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong.”

Part of eliminating cap restrictions will also overhaul the eligibility standards of the Trump administration, including eliminating categories that might discriminate against the refugee applicant based on nationality or religion. 

Published on Feb 04, 2021