Omar: ‘Shameful’ Biden reneging on refugee promise

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tore into President Biden Friday after he kept in place the Trump administration’s cap on refugee admissions for fiscal 2021.

Omar, who arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia as a child, had pushed Biden in a letter earlier in the day to raise the Trump-era cap of 15,000 to 62,500, which the White House had proposed to Congress earlier this year.

“As a refugee, I know finding a home is a matter of life or death for children around the world. It is shameful that @POTUS is reneging on a key promise to welcome refugees, moments after @RepSchakowsky @RepJayapal, myself and others called on him to increase the refugee cap,” she tweeted, referencing Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) who joined her in spearheading Friday’s letter. 

The rebuke came just after the White House announced that it would be keeping the refugee cap at 15,000 for the fiscal year, reversing a promise Biden had made earlier.

The executive order Biden will sign will also speed up refugee admissions and open up slots to refugees from places like Africa and the Middle East that had been excluded by then-President Trump.

Biden has advocated over time to raise the number of refugees the U.S. accepts to 125,000. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday that he “remains committed to raising the refugee cap.”

Still, Democrats seized on Biden’s Friday announcement, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) calling it “utterly unacceptable.”

“Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise. Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong,” she tweeted. “Keep your promise.” 

“By failing to sign an Emergency Presidential Determination to lift Trump’s historically low refugee cap, President Biden has broken his promise to restore our humanity. We cannot turn our back on refugees around the world, including hundreds of refugees who have already been cleared for resettlement, have sold their belongings, and are ready to board flights,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said in a statement.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Donald Trump FY2020 refugee resettlement ceiling Ilhan Omar Jan Schakowsky Jen Psaki Joe Biden Pramila Jayapal Rashida Tlaib Refugee Refugee Resettlement

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