Biden follows through on pledge to take in more refugees

Sep 21, 2021

Credit Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Biden administration says the U.S. will take in 125,000 refugees and their families next year, fulfilling an earlier pledge to raise a cap that had been at a historic low under his predecessor.

The White House announced the annual cap in a report to Congress, saying there was an unprecedented number of displaced people around the world because of conflict, humanitarian crises and climate change.

As president Donald Trump capped the number of refugees at 15,000, the lowest since the 1980 Refugee Act took effect.

It's been an uphill climb for refugee organizations in returning to pre-Trump levels, as many had to trim down operations, lay off staff or shut down entirely. A recent influx of thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan has only increased the stress on the country's refugee infrastructure. 

READ MORE: Refugee Organizations Face Uphill Climb In Returning To Pre-Trump Levels

But most of the people who left Afghanistan last month are considered evacuees – not refugees – a technicality that means many people at Camp Atterbury will likely be unaffected by the move – for now. The Wall Street Journal reported the Biden administration has asked Congress to pass a law creating a pathway to citizenship for many Afghan evacuees.

President Joe Biden faced criticism when he was slow to raise it upon taking office before setting it at 62,500 under pressure.

Mitch Legan contributed to this story.