Biden Maintains Current 125,000 Cap on US Refugee Admissions

President Joe Biden on Sept. 27 announced that he will keep in place the current cap on refugee admissions at 125,000 for the fiscal year 2023, allowing hundreds of thousands of people fleeing persecution to seek refuge in the United States.

In a Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions published by the White House, Biden said the cap on refugees will remain the same as it was in the past year, after he doubled the cap on refugee admissions in September 2021 for the year ahead, up from 62,500.

The 125,000 target “is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest,” Biden wrote on Tuesday.

Fiscal Year 2023 begins on Oct. 1.

“I hereby determine that assistance to or on behalf of persons applying for admission to the United States as part of the overseas refugee admissions program will contribute to the foreign policy interests of the United States,” Biden said.

According to the new cap, the fiscal year 2023 will allocate 40,000 refugee spots for Africa, 35,000 for the Near East and South Asia; 15,000 for East Asia; 15,000 for Latin America and the Caribbean; and 15,000 for Europe and Central Asia. Another 5,000 spots remain in “unallocated reserve.”

“The 5,000 unallocated refugee numbers shall be allocated to regional ceilings, as needed,” according to the administration.

Additionally, Biden wrote: “upon notification to the Judiciary Committees of the Congress, you are further authorized to transfer unused admissions allocated to a particular region to one or more other regions, if there is a need for greater admissions for the region or regions to which the admissions are being transferred.”

Former President Donald Trump had set a refugee cap of 15,000 before the Biden administration raised that cap as part of Biden’s move to welcome and support more refugees into the country, something he promised to do during his campaign.

However, so far fewer than 20,000 refugees have been admitted this budget year, which ends Sept. 30.

A sign counting the completed Ukrainian crossovers into the United States hangs in the refugee intake area of the Benito Juarez Sports Complex of Tijuana, Mexico, on April 27, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

That excludes the roughly 180,000 Ukrainians and Afghans who came to the United States via humanitarian parole, a legal process allowing them to enter the country faster than the traditional refugee programs due to urgent humanitarian reasons. Under the program, however, individuals can only stay in the country for up to two years.

Refugees are given a path to permanent residency.

Southern Border Crisis

Biden’s move to keep in place the current refugee cap comes amid a crisis at the southern border which has left communities in Texas overwhelmed; owing to Biden’s policies that have seen a wave of illegal immigrants enter the United States.

The increased number of aliens at the border has prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to send thousands of illegal immigrants to various Democrat-run areas of the country, also known as “sanctuary” cities, such as Washington and Chicago.

Border Patrol takes into custody six illegal immigrants who were being smuggled from the U.S.–Mexico border, through Kinney County, Texas, on Aug. 28, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

About 4.9 million people have illegally crossed into the United States from Mexico since Biden took office in January 2021, according to a report released in August.

Despite this, Biden has faced mounting pressure from advocates to raise the cap on refugees higher in order to meet increased demand from people seeking refuge in the country after being displaced due to political instability, famine, and war.

“Despite good-faith efforts, the Biden administration fell far short as it grappled with a decimated system inherited from its predecessor,” Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said in a statement.

However, the International Rescue Committee (IRS) applauded Tuesday’s decision, which they said “demonstrates America’s continued commitment to refugees in the search for safety and protection.”

“Welcoming refugees to the U.S. is not only morally right but strategically necessary,” IRS said. “Refugee resettlement has strengthened the fabric of U.S. communities for generations, has helped ensure national security, and bolstered foreign policy and global stability. Refugees have been shown to make an outsized contribution to the U.S. economy through their high rate of entrepreneurship, tax payments, and filling essential jobs.”

Noting that there are over 100 million people displaced around the globe, the IRC said that “the humanitarian needs are higher than ever before.”

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Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.

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