President-elect Biden pledges to increase the US refugee ceiling to 125,000

Mr Biden pledged to change that, promising that his administration will increase the cap for resettling refugees in the United States to 125,000. Since 2000, the cap has hovered between 70,000 and 80,000.

Nov 21, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin
On the same day he spoke to Pope Francis, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered a message to a Jesuit refugee organisation in which he announced that he would follow through on a campaign promise to dramatically increase the number of refugees resettled in the United States following drastic cuts by the outgoing Trump administration.

“The United States has long stood as a beacon of hope for the downtrodden and the oppressed, a leader in resettling refugees and our humanitarian response. I promise, as president, I’ll reclaim that proud legacy for our country,” Mr Biden said, speaking via a video he recorded to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Jesuit Refugee Service. “The Biden-Harris administration will restore America’s historic role in protecting the vulnerable and defending the rights of refugees everywhere.”

Earlier, the Biden-Harris transition team announced that Mr Biden spoke to Pope Francis on the telephone, thanking him for his congratulations and vowing to find areas of common ground between the United States and the Holy See, including fighting climate change and advocating for protections for mi grants and refugees.

Beginning in 1980, US presidents were required to set a cap for the number of refugees the United States would resettle. That year, the cap was 231,000. In the final year of his presidency, President Barack Obama set a cap at 110,000. President Trump slashed that number in half during the first year of his presidency and decreased it each subsequent year. It currently stands at 15,000 for 2021, and under Mr Trump, Canada has eclipsed  the United States as the leader in resettling people fleeing war and violence. Around the world, conflict and hunger have displaced a record 80 million people.

Mr Biden pledged to change that, promising that his administration will increase the cap for resettling refugees in the United States to 125,000. Since 2000, the cap has hovered between 70,000 and 80,000.

“As we speak, refugees and immigrants are working on the frontiers of this devastating pandemic as doctors, nurses, researchers, farmworkers,” Mr Biden said. “We’re a safer, stronger, better country because of their contributions. Together we must all work toward a more resilient, inclusive and hopeful future for our world.”

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) was founded in 1980 to help resettle refugees fleeing Vietnam. Today, JRS works in more than 50 countries providing health care, access to education and legal protection. Arturo Sosa, SJ, the superior general of the Society of Jesus, announced that the Jesuits will donate $1 million to JRS “to further recognise our commitment to forcibly displaced persons around the world.” ––America Magazine

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