America Will Welcome More Refugees as Biden Lifts Trump’s Misguided Restrictions
President Joe Biden on Thursday issued an executive order undoing his predecessor’s dramatic cuts to the number of refugees admitted to the United States each year.
Starting with the fiscal year that begins on October 1, the United States will accept up to 125,000 refugees annually, Biden announced during a foreign policy speech delivered at the State Department. The Trump administration had slashed the number of refugees accepted each year. This year the cap is set at just 15,000, the lowest single-year total since the Refugee Act of 1980 standardized the admission process. Reversing those cuts, and then some—the refugee cap was 110,000 in the final year of the Obama administration—was a signal of America’s “moral leadership” in the world, Biden said.
“We shined the light of liberty on oppressed people,” Biden said. “We offered safe havens for those fleeing violence or persecution. And our example pushed other nations to open wide their doors as well.”
In addition to raising the caps, the executive order Biden signed Thursday also revokes two Trump-era executive orders and one presidential memo imposing additional security vetting on would-be immigrants who applied for refugee status. The order gives the State Department 90 days to provide the White House with a report on the effectiveness of those screening procedures, as well as recommendations for which practices should remain in place when the higher refugee caps take effect in October.
While the Trump administration framed the overall reduction in refugee admissions and the enhanced security screening procedures (what Trump liked to call “extreme vetting“) as being matters of national security, they were really nativist political maneuvers meant to reduce the number of people allowed to enter the country legally.
The idea that refugees are a uniquely danger
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