Biden raises refugee cap to 62,500 after earlier criticism

President Biden, pictured in the East Room of the White House on April 15, announced Monday that the administration is lifting the ceiling on the number of refugees who can be admitted into the country this fiscal year.
President Joe Biden, pictured in the East Room of the White House on April 15, announced Monday that the administration is lifting the ceiling on the number of refugees who can be admitted into the country this fiscal year.
Andrew Harnik | AP

President Joe Biden announced on Monday that the administration is raising the cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 for the fiscal year, far above the 15,000 limit set by the previous administration, but below an earlier campaign promise.

"It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin," the president said in a statement.

In April, the Biden administration fumbled an announcement around the cap — initially saying it would keep former President Donald Trump's low ceiling but then later, after criticism from fellow Democrats, saying it would follow through on Biden's campaign promise to allow more refugees into the country this fiscal year.

Even with the cap of 15,000 in place so far, only about 2,000 refugees had been let in by the end of March, during the first half of fiscal year 2021, according to the Refugee Processing Center.

Biden acknowledged in his Monday statement that the level of 62,500 will not be met in reality.

But Biden vowed to reach his goal of 125,000 refugee admissions in the coming fiscal year.

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