Apr 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

"Disgraceful": Ilhan Omar, AOC, other Dems slam Biden's decision on refugee cap

Photo of a masked Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley

Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Several Democrats on Friday slammed President Biden's decision to not raise the cap on refugees allowed to enter the U.S. this year, calling it "disgraceful" and "utterly unacceptable."

Why it matters: Biden campaigned on the promise to increase the limit, which was set to a historically low figure under the Trump administration.

What they're saying:

  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.): "[T]oday's disgraceful decision ... goes directly against our values and risks the lives of little boys and girls huddled in refugee camps around the world. I know, because I was one."
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): "It is simply unacceptable and unconscionable that the Biden Administration is not immediately repealing Donald Trump's harmful, xenophobic, and racist refugees cap that cruelly restricts admissions to a historically low level ... President Biden has broken his promise to restore our humanity."
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.): "Completely and utterly unacceptable. Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise ... Keep your promise."
  • Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas): "Raising the refugee resettlement cap is vital for American global leadership and to restore the soul of our nation. I urge the President to keep his promise."
  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.): "The United States has a proud, bipartisan tradition of providing refugees protection through resettlement. In this time of great global need, the United States must demonstrate its robust commitment as a nation by resettling the world's most vulnerable refugees."

Worth noting: In a letter to Biden ahead of news of the order on Friday, 38 Democratic members of Congress said the United States' refugee policy "remains unacceptably draconian and discriminatory" with the current cap.

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