The White House has backtracked and announced that an increase in the number of refugee admissions for this fiscal year will be announced next month, after initially maintaining the limit of 15,000 set by his predecessor in office, Donald Trump.
The White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, has assured that before next May 15 the president of the United States, Joe Biden, will announce a new limit higher than the current one and has regretted that the last order of the president in this sense has “been the subject of some confusion”.
President Biden has signed this Friday an executive order in which many of the categories imposed by Trump to delimit who could qualify for refugee status were eliminated, but did not expand the number of admissions, as promised during the election campaign, even announcing that they could reach up to 62,500.
Psaki explained that over the past few weeks, Biden “has been consulting with his advisors to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted” and acknowledged that the initial target of 62,500 “seems unlikely” after seeing the “decimated refugee admissions program inherited” from the previous administration.
“The president was urged to take immediate steps to reverse Trump’s policy that barred refugees from many regions to allow flights from those locations to begin within days; today’s order did that,” he has said.
The decision has not sat well at all among civil associations and their allies in Congress, such as the Democratic representative for Washington Pramila Jayapal, who has described as “unacceptable and inconceivable” that the current Administration has not “immediately” repealed Donald Trump’s “harmful, xenophobic and racist” quota.
For the Democratic senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Bob Menendez, maintaining Trump’s directive on this issue “undermines” the promise Biden made and “threatens American leadership on forced migration,” as he has conveyed to the president himself through a letter.
The White House has initially explained that the decision is motivated by the current migration crisis at the southern border, an “unforeseen emergency situation” that has already collapsed the services and federal offices in charge of processing asylum requests.
Since this fiscal year began in October, fewer than 2,200 refugees have been admitted to the United States, according to State Department data. The lowest figure, with Trump lodged in the White House, dates back to 2020, when only 11,800 refugees were able to enter the country.