WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Monday he would raise the cap on the number of refugees admitted to the United States to 62,500 for this fiscal year, following criticism last month after he announced he would preserve a Trump-era limit on that category.
"This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees," Biden said in a statement.
"It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin."
After announcing in April that they would keep the number of refugees admitted at 15,000, and sharp criticism from Democrats, the White House abruptly shifted course, promising to announce an increased cap by May 15.
Biden notified Congress in February that he would increase the number of refugees allowed to enter the country to 62,500, but did not sign the presidential determination that would actually raise the cap.
Still, he said Monday that the "sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year," citing the "damage" that President Donald Trump did to the refugee program.
In the statement, Biden said he was committed to raising the cap to 125,000 refugees for the following fiscal year, which starts in October, but said that "that goal will still be hard to hit."