The Biden administration has set a target to admit 125,000 refugees worldwide in the next fiscal year, starting from October 1.
There is a significant shift in the administration’s policy as it aims to admit between 35,000 to 50,000 refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean, compared to this year’s goal of 15,000.
The number of refugees it aims to admit from Europe and Central Asia, however, went down from 15,000 to between 2,000 to 3,000.
The administration has eliminated an “unallocated reserve” from previous years, which allowed it to set aside some slots and use them in any region.
The decision on next year’s refugee cap comes at a time when the number of migrants coming to the US’s southern border is increasing.
The US is seeing an unprecedented number of refugees, many of whom hope to seek asylum in the US. As of August, the US had admitted only about 51,000 of the possible 125,000.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the world is facing an “unprecedented global displacement crisis” with record numbers of people being forced to flee war, persecution and instability.
To address this issue, the US aims to expand efforts to resettle refugees from Latin America, the Caribbean and other regions while also helping “key populations of concern” such as Afghans who helped the US war effort, human rights advocates and other groups.
The Jewish humanitarian organization HIAS welcomed the number set by the president, calling it a “worthy target.”
However, the organization’s President and CEO Mark Hetfield noted that there is still a lot of room between the number of refugees the administration aims to admit this year and how many actually get to come.
For decades, America admitted more refugees each year than all other countries combined, only to fall behind Canada in 2018.
Admissions under the program hit an all-time low of 11,411 in 2021 after dramatic cuts by the Trump administration.
But this year has seen a rise in the number of refugees admitted to the US following government efforts to beef up staffing and make more trips to foreign countries to interview prospective refugees.
It’s important to note that refugee status is different from other types of protection, such as asylum. To be admitted as refugees, people have to be living outside the US.
They are generally referred to the State Department by the UN’s refugee agency, and then US officials interview and vet them while they’re still abroad. To seek asylum, a person has to be on US soil.