Apr 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House now says Biden will move to increase refugee cap by May 15

Biden
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House on Friday afternoon said President Biden plans to lift the Trump-era refugee cap by May 15.

Driving the news: The announcement follows stinging criticism from several Democrats and rights groups, who said Biden was walking back on his pledge to raise the limit. Earlier Friday, Biden signed a directive to speed up the processing of refugees, but kept the Trump administration's historically low cap of 15,000 refugees for this year.

What they're saying: "The President’s directive today has been the subject of some confusion," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement

  • "For the past few weeks, [Biden] has been consulting with his advisors to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and October 1," she added.
  • "Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely."
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