The good news is that the Biden administration is scrapping the ridiculous "Mulsim Ban" restrictions on refugees entering the US. The bad news is that for now, the Biden administration is keeping the Trump regime's historically low levels of refugees allowed in.
President Joe Biden on Friday signed an emergency determination to speed refugee admissions to the U.S., but kept his predecessor’s historically low cap of 15,000 refugees for this year, triggering an outcry from advocates for refugees and even Biden allies.
Many were surprised Biden has not replaced the cap by former President Donald Trump, having submitted a plan to Congress two months ago to quadruple that number. The administration has indicated he may still do so.
For now, Biden is adjusting the allocation limits set by Trump, which officials said have been the driving factor in limiting refugee admissions. The new allocations provide more slots for refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central America and lift Trump’s restrictions on resettlements from Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1, just over 2,000 refugees have been resettled in the U.S. A senior administration official said Biden’s new allocations, formalized in an emergency presidential determination, could result in speedier admissions of already screened and vetted refugees in a manner of days.
Refugee resettlement agencies applauded speedier admissions and more slots but were disheartened Biden did not touch Trump’s cap, the lowest since the program began 41 years ago.
“It sends an important message to make it higher and now Biden will still be presiding over and has essentially put his stamp of approval on the lowest refugee admissions cap in history at a time of global crisis,” said Mark Hetfield, president of HIAS, a Maryland-based Jewish nonprofit that is one of nine agencies that resettles refugees in the U.S.
Biden presented a plan to Congress more than two months ago to raise the ceiling on admissions to 62,500 and to eliminate restrictions imposed by Trump that have disqualified a significant number of refugees, including those fleeing war.
But Biden has not issued a presidential determination since his administration notified Congress, as required by law. The action does not require congressional approval and past presidents have issued such presidential determinations that set the cap on refugee admissions shortly after the notification to Congress.
New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez urged Biden to act.
“Failing to issue a new Determination undermines your declared purpose to reverse your predecessor’s refugee policies,” the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote in a letter to Biden.
Menendez said it also makes it unlikely that the program can hit its target next budget year of 125,000, which Biden has pledged to do.
Biden has given no explanation for the inaction, other than to say “it’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do.”
This is an odd way of doing things, and frankly this is the one thing so far that I really think Biden is screwing up and badly. There's no reason to keep the 15,000 cap on refugees right now, COVID-19 or not, and if that's the actual case, then Biden needs to make that clear.
Saying "well we're going to do better in the future" when you have the opportunity to do better now is not doing better.
I don't get it, but Biden can, and should, fix it as soon as possible.
Now would be a good start.