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Press Release // Refugee Resettlement

President Biden Signs Executive Order Modifying Refugee Admissions Policy

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Global Refuge Staff

April 16, 2021

Contact: Timothy Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org | 443-257-6310

Washington D.C. – President Biden signed an executive order intended to speed up refugee admissions to the U.S, but does not raise the total number of refugees allowed to resettle in the country. The current cap of just 15,000 refugee admissions was set by the Trump administration and represents an all-time low ceiling. As of April 2021, halfway through the current fiscal year, the U.S. has resettled just over 2,000 refugees.

Under the administration’s new allocation, about 7,000 slots are reserved for refugees from Africa, 1,000 from East Asia, 1,500 from Europe and Central Asia, 3,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 1,600 from the Near East and South Asia, and a reserve of about 1,000 slots to be used as needed.

The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Global Refuge, the nation’s largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving refugees and vulnerable immigrant communities:

We are grateful for President Biden’s move to revise refugee policy that has disproportionately and discriminately impacted refugees from African and Muslim-majority nations. His actions today will send some needed hope to the most vulnerable children and families, particularly those in Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

However, it is deeply disappointing that the administration has elected to leave in place the shameful, record-low admissions cap of its predecessor. While it is true the Trump administration left the resettlement infrastructure in tatters, we feel confident and able to serve far more families than this order accounts for.

Progress rarely comes in leaps and bounds; while we are encouraged by incremental progress towards restoring our humanitarian reputation, there is far more work ahead to reclaim global leadership. The challenge of ramping up admissions to President Biden’s pledge of 125,000 is daunting, but it is an occasion we can rise to.

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