Apr 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden defends not immediately raising refugee cap

President Joe Biden leaves his cart after a round of golf at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 17
President Biden speaking with reporters after leaving his cart following his first round of golf as president at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Saturday sought to explain why he didn't immediately lift the Trump administration's historically low refugee cap.

Driving the news: Several Democrats accused Biden Friday of not fulfilling his pledge to raise the limit after it was announced he'd keep the cap. The White House said later it would be raised by May 15. Biden told reporters Saturday, "We're going to increase the number."

  • "The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people," continued Biden, per a pool report of his comments after golfing in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • "We couldn't do two things at once, but now we are going to increase the number."

For the record: The executive order Biden signed Friday to speed up the processing of refugees in 2021 states, "The admission of up to 15,000 refugees remains justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest."

  • It adds that if this cap is reached before the year's end a presidential determination "may be issued to increase admissions, as appropriate." 

Go deeper: On the front lines of the growing border crisis

Go deeper