Biden keeps current cap on refugee entries to US

US President Joe Biden in his office. Photo published by the White House on July 9, 2022.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday today signed the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for the Fiscal Year 2023, setting the refugee admissions target at 125,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.

This ambitious target demonstrates that the United States is committed to rebuilding and strengthening the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), including by building capacity, modernizing and streamlining overall operations, and resolving long-delayed applications, the US Department of State said.

A new private sponsorship pilot program will also expand opportunities for communities across the country to participate in welcoming the world’s most vulnerable to the United States, recognizing and building on the enormous outpouring of interest we have seen from the American public in supporting our newest neighbors, the statement said.

Over the history of the program, the USRAP has resettled nearly 3.5 million refugees in the US, the statement added.

After taking office, Biden increased the number of refugee admissions permitted for the remaining months of the 2021 budget year. He then set the target at 125,000 for the 2022 budget year, which ends Sept. 30. But so far fewer than 20,000 refugees have been admitted, according to US media reports.

That number excludes the nearly 180,000 Afghans and Ukrainians who went to the United States through a legal process called humanitarian parole that got them into the country more quickly than the traditional refugee program but only allows for stays of up to two years.

According to reports, refugees taken to the US are provided a path to permanent residency. Their admissions are determined by the president each year, and federal funding for resettlement agencies is based on the number of people they resettle in a given year.

Under the program, the largest number of slots, 40,000, has been set aside for refugees from Africa, followed by 35,000 from South Asia, including Afghanistan, and 15,000 each from East Asia, Europe and Latin America.