The Joe Biden Administration has raised this Monday the refugee income limit to 125,000 for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30, 2022. The Democratic president had promised that this fiscal year they would receive 62,500 refugees, but in April it reported that it would maintain the record low set by Donald Trump of 15,000. After receiving an avalanche of criticism, he backed off, but anticipated that they would not reach the initial goal. As of the end of August, only 7,637 had been admitted to the United States, according to Human Right Watch, the lowest number in the program’s 40 years. The number does not include the tens of thousands of Afghans who have come to the US after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan because they have a special immigrant visa and have not been classified as refugees.
The 125,000 refugees, a Biden campaign promise, are expected to include 40,000 from Africa, 35,000 from the Middle East and Southeast Asia; 15,000 from East Asia; 15,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean; 10,000 from Europe and Central Asia; and another 10,000 not assigned, according to the report of the Department of State in conjunction with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services sent to Congress. The document specifies that there will be a particular focus on Central Americans, Afghans at risk because of their affiliation with the United States; LGBTQI + refugees; and members of the Uighur ethnic group, the Muslim minority threatened by China.
During the Trump Administration, government agencies and nonprofits that administer refugee resettlement were drastically reduced due to the budget and staff cuts the former president assigned to the program. As a consequence, and in a pandemic context, the United States has only received 7,637 refugees in 11 months. The wave of Afghans who have been received on US soil in the last month does not affect the figure.
Due to the chaotic and fast-paced evacuation operation from Afghanistan, the roughly 40,000 Afghan civilians entered the US for temporary humanitarian reasons and were not formally classified as refugees. Their special immigrant visa presents them with a series of disadvantages, such as not automatically qualifying to apply for permanent residence (green card) after one year. Biden has asked Congress to modify the law so that Afghans can receive the same benefits as if they were refugees, but Republican congressmen have slowed down the initiative.
The announcement confirmed by the State Department comes when the mass deportations of the thousands of Haitians held in South Texas monopolize the front pages and the White House insists on telling them not to “come” to ask for asylum in the United States. “A strong refugee admission program is central to US foreign policy interests and national security goals, and is a reflection of core American values,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday. .
The refugee population worldwide has risen to more than 26 million, the highest number since World War II, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Follow all the international information at Facebook and Twitter, o en our weekly newsletter.