Jarrett Renshaw, Reuters, April 18, 2021
President Joe Biden said on Saturday he will raise the cap on the number of refugees admitted this year to the United States, a day after he drew criticism from Democratic lawmakers for agreeing to keep the historically low figure in place.
Biden signed an order on Friday extending a 15,000 refugee admissions cap issued by his predecessor Donald Trump through the end of September. In signing the order, Biden shelved a plan announced in February to increase the cap to 62,500.
With Biden being criticized by lawmakers and refugee advocacy groups, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that he planned to “set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.”
Biden’s cautious approach appears to have been tied to concerns over the optics of admitting more refugees at a time of rising numbers of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, and to not wanting to look “too open” or “soft,” another U.S. official with knowledge of the matter previously told Reuters.