President BidenJoe BidenArkansas lawmakers move bills banning companies from demanding workers’ vaccine status Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase On The Money-Presented by NRHC Senate slowly recedes from debt disaster MORE on Friday signed a declaration committing the United States to accepting up to 125,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year, formalizing an earlier pledge that would allow funds to be released to resettle them.
The ambitious announcement comes as the White House resettled only 11,411 refugees at the end of the fiscal year last week, the lowest figure in the history of the U.S. refugee program and one that did not reach the 11,814 low set under Trump.
Although the promise of a campaign promise was fulfilled, the commitment comes as refugee resettlement agencies have been asked to expect as many as 95,000 Afghan refugees in the coming year after the US evacuation.
Biden announced to Congress its recommendation to set the refugee ceiling at 125,000 for the coming fiscal year in September.
But the report seems to express some internal doubt about the government’s ability to achieve this goal. It told Congress that the State Department would issue funding to 65,000 refugees.
“These funding levels will be reassessed and increased as needed as the year progresses, and as it becomes clearer how much progress can be made towards the goal,” the White House wrote.
The commitment to a new assessment comes after Biden faltered with refugee numbers early in his presidency.
Biden said in February that he would raise the ceiling to 62,500 for this fiscal year – part of a promise to reach 125,000 within his first year in office.
But he slowly approached the president’s determination to officially set the new number for the program, forcing refugees resettlement agencies to cancel flights for a number of people to be resettled in March.
And when Biden finally signed the resolution in April, he markedly backed down and set the refugee ceiling at 15,000, the same lowest level used under Trump, making both advocates and congressional Democrats furious.
In contrast to the immediate backlash, the White House again raised the refugee cap to 62,500, a largely ambitious figure despite being significantly lower than ceiling limits set between 70,000 to 80,000 under previous administrations.
The administration has largely blamed its predecessor for obstructing the program during Biden’s first year in office.
“In my consultations with members of Congress, I stressed that the State Department is committed to rebuilding our U.S. refugee admissions program in line with our long tradition of offering hope and a safe haven to those fleeing persecution. We are working hard to rebuild the program’s infrastructure, “said the Foreign Minister Antony BlinkAntony BlinkenSenate Democrat says hundreds of Americans, Afghan allies arrived in Qatar after being stranded at Afghan airport Blinken, new Japanese countermeasures concern North Korea’s Israeli foreign minister to meet with US officials on Iran MORE said in a statement Friday.