U.S. President Joe Biden is proposing to raise refugee admissions this year to 62,500 from the record-low of 15,000 that was set by former President Donald Trump.

U.S. State Department officials are expected to meet this week with key lawmakers in a formal consultation that is part of the process to set refugee levels, according to several people briefed on the meetings.

Biden will create spots for 22,000 refugees from Africa, 13,00 from South Asia, 6,000 from East Asia, 5,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 4,000 from Europe and Central Asia, according to the plan.  12,500 unallocated spots will also be available.

Biden argued to congress in his proposal to them that the expansion this year is needed in part to resettle refugee from more than a dozen nations whose humanitarian situation is worsening.  

Biden said on February 4 that he intends to raise annual refugee admissions to 125,000 in the coming fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2021. 
In fact, Biden’s issued order on February 4 aims to speed up refugee processing and remove barriers that blocked some applicants. 

The order called for a review of the Special Immigrant Visa program for refugees who aided U.S. interests in Iraq and Afghanistan to determine whether there have been “undue delays” for applicants.

Refugee admissions had slowed to a crawl amid Trump’s restrictions coupled with the co​ronavirus pandemic.  Trump was also concerned with the possible security threat and economic burden the refugees presented.  From Oct. 1 to Feb.5, the United States resettled only 1,501 refugees according to State Department data shared with refugee groups.

Biden’s executive order rescinded several restrictive Trump policies, including a 2019 order that required U.S. states and localities to consent to receive refugees.  It appears that the Biden administration plans to curb arrest and deportations, according to FOX News.

Biden’s plan specifically mentions refugees from more than a dozen countries, including Syria, where is says “regime forces have forcibly displaced, raped, starved, and massacred civilians.”

Biden also mentioned refugees being considered are those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Ughur Muslims from China and residents of Hong Kong as well as refugees in the Western Hemisphere from Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Biden also rescinded a Trump order that called for “enhanced vetting” of refugees and specifically targeted 11 countries.  Ten of the eleven affected countries were in the Middle East and Africa.

For additional information visit our friends at Reuters.

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