Biden administration will keep cap on refugees at Trump administration levels

Biden administration will keep cap on refugees at Trump administration levels

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will not increase the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. this year, according to a senior administration official, breaking a prior promise to raise the cap from the historically-low level set by the Trump administration.

Biden notified Congress in early February that he would increase the number of refugees allowed to enter the country from 15,000 to 62,500 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. But he failed to sign the paperwork that would actually raise the cap, effectively keeping the cap at Trump-era levels.

Biden’s decision highlights the pressure on his administration to stem the surge of migrants, many of them unaccompanied children, arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked several times in recent days for an explanation about the delay in raising the caps, but failed to provide reporters with details.

“I can assure anyone who has concerns that the president remains committed to this issue. He is somebody who believes that refugees, that immigrants are the heart and soul of our country, and they have been for decades,” Psaki said Thursday.

“And it certainly is an issue he remains committed to,” she added. “But I don’t have an update on the timeline of the signing.”

The White House is likely to face swift pushback from Democrats in Congress, who have been publicly calling on Biden in recent days to follow through with his commitment to raise the refugee cap. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., along with other progressive Democrats, sent a let to Biden earlier Friday urging Biden to take action.

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