US sets admissions for refugees at 125,000 – Nexus News

Refugee advocates have been advocating for the administration of US President Joe Biden to do more to restore the 40-year-old Refugee Admissions Program, which was terminated under the Trump administration when admissions were reduced to a record low of 15,000.

After assuming office, Biden quadrupled the number of refugee admissions permitted for the remaining months of the 2021 budget year.

He then keeps the target at 125,000 for the 2022 budget year, which ends on September 30.

But despite increasing the number and removing bureaucratic restrictions put in place by his predecessor, the Biden administration has strived to make progress on the programme.

So far, not less than 20,000 refugees have been admitted. That number excludes the roughly 180,000 Ukrainians and Afghans who came to the US via a legal process called humanitarian parole that got them into the country more quickly than the traditional refugee programme but only permits them to stay for up to two years.

Refugees are provided with a path to permanent residency.

The United States said it is keeping its cap on refugee admissions at 125,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.

The announcement on Tuesday came amid pressure from advocates to give room for more refugees to enter, as record numbers of people flee their homes because of war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses soars. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) stated that the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and other emergencies have pushed the displacement figure above “the dramatic milestone of 100 million” this year.

In his presidential determination, Biden said the 125,000 target was “justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest”. Historically, the average has been 95,000 under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

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Biden set aside 5,000 more slots for people from Europe and Central Asia for the 2023 budget year, making room to accommodate those fleeing the war in Ukraine. The largest number of slots — 40,000 — was earmarked for refugees from Africa, followed by 35,000 from South Asia and 15,000 each from East Asia, Europe and Latin America.

In a press release, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that “this ambitious target demonstrates that the United States is committed to rebuilding and strengthening the US Refugee Admissions Program” through various means. He emphasized on plans for a pilot programme that is expected to get underway by the end of the year that will enable Americans to sign up to resettle refugees in their communities, much like US citizens did in stepping up to help Afghans and Ukrainians over the past year.

Traditionally, refugees are placed in communities by nine refugee resettlement agencies.

“Our refugee admissions program embodies the best of American values and the will to help those in need, and it will continue to provide access to resettlement as a lifesaving, durable solution,” Blinken said.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, head of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, stated that the Biden administration had to do more to improve its refugee programme.

“While humanitarian parole was a valuable stopgap measure to provide temporary protection to Afghans and Ukrainians, it’s no substitute for the full resettlement services and permanent residence that refugee status offers,” she said in a statement posted to Twitter. “As a result of prioritizing parole over rebuilding the refugee program, displaced children and families of many nationalities continue to languish in years-long backlogs.”

The Biden administration must see its “refugee commitments to fruition” this year, she said.

“It must ramp up and streamline overseas processing of refugee applications if this lifesaving program is to remain relevant amid an unprecedented global displacement crisis.”

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