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Cartoon by: Ali Solomon

Current Issue: Urgent President Biden to Increase Presidential Determination to 62,500 for Fiscal Year 2021

On Friday, March 16, the Biden administration announced that it will keep the historic-low refugee admissions goal of 15,000 in place for the remainder of this fiscal year, despite promising to raise the goal to 62,500. Although the administration plans to restore regional allocations based on vulnerability and undo the previous administration’s discriminatory resettlement allocations, thousands of refugees will be left in harm’s way by leaving the current all-time low admissions goal intact. Due to the delay in announcing this decision, thousands of refugees who were ready for travel to the United States have seen their medical and security checks start to expire, forcing refugees to now have to wait months or years to be resettled and reunited with their loved ones.

Later that Friday, the White House issued another statement, backtracking its earlier announcement and indicating the administration’s plans to re-issue a new, higher admissions goal by May 15th. A White House official told the New York Times that the decision to maintain the 15,000 admissions goal was due to concerns over increases in unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. It is important to note that there was no reason for the delay in restoring regional allocations and there is no reason to delay increasing the refugee admissions goal. While we welcome the administration reconsidering their wrongful decision to continue the historic-low admissions goal, however, if they truly wanted to, they could increase that goal today. The administration said they wanted to rebuild the resettlement program, all they need to do to make that happen is to re-issue the admissions goal for FY21 of 62,500—as they proposed and consulted with Congress around—and increase refugee arrivals, so they can mitigate the harm this delay has had on refugees and their loved ones.

Now is the time to keep up the pressure. It is vital that the administration and Members of Congress hear that we are outraged by this historic-low refugee admissions goal and to re-issue the admissions goal of 62,500 for FY21. 

Here are the top 3 ways to take action:

1. Send an email to the White House here

Sample Script: “I am outraged that President Biden is keeping the historic-low refugee admissions goal at 15,000 for the rest of this fiscal year. Although the President finally restored regional allocations to undo overly restrictive resettlement categories, the delay in formalizing this decision has caused irreparable harm to thousands of refugees who will now have to wait months, if not years, to be resettled and reunited with their loved ones. I urge you to protect refugees and restore the U.S. refugee resettlement program by welcoming as many refugees as possible this fiscal year, including by revising the admissions goal to the promised-62,500, and to honor his promise to rebuild the program to resettle 125,000 refugees in FY 2022. As we face the worst refugee crisis in history, it is vital that President Biden honor his commitment to re-establish U.S. moral leadership in refugee protection and resettlement. My community welcomes refugees, and I urge you to do the same.”

2. Contact Congress: Click here to be connected with your 2 Senators and 1 Representative via email or by phone.

3. Amplify on Social Media: Here are sample tweets:

1. President Biden showed refugee families fleeing danger are not a priority. @POTUS must fulfill his promises to do more. #RestoringWelcome

2. Thousands of refugees are already vetted and approved for travel. @POTUS has failed to fulfill his commitment to #RestoringWelcome and bringing people to safety.

3. How can @POTUS ignore refugees in need around the world? The United States has the capacity to support border needs AND restore refugee arrivals. #RestoringWelcome