Sep 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to raise refugee admissions cap to 125,000

Refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport
Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden administration will raise the refugee admissions cap to 125,000 for the next fiscal year beginning in October, the State Department confirmed in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The move comes as the U.S. contends with resettling tens of thousands of Afghan refugees stateside, and as the world faces "unprecedented global displacement and humanitarian needs," the department wrote.

  • The new commitment is in line with Biden's 2020 campaign promises.
  • Earlier this year, Biden raised the cap to 62,500 for the current fiscal year, following harsh criticism of an initial decision to keep admissions numbers low.

The big picture: A State Department report out Monday breaks down the new figures. The new caps are expected to be:

  • 40,000 refugees from Africa
  • 35,000 from the Near East and South Asia
  • 15,000 from East Asia
  • 15,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 10,000 from Europe and Central Asia
  • 10,000 slots for an unallocated reserve to be used if needed in any region.

What they're saying: "A robust refugee admissions program is critical to U.S. foreign policy interests and national security objectives, and is a reflection of core American values," the statement says.

  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) lauded the announcement, tweeting, "I applaud the Biden Administration for setting a target of 125,000 refugee admissions in the next fiscal year—a target my colleagues and I have been advocating for since April."
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