Awareness - April 23rd 2021 - We Welcome Refugees

Awareness - April 23rd 2021

President Biden issued a new Presidential Determination leaving the existing refugee ceiling at 15,000 but removing exclusionary categories

Friday was a wild ride as President Biden sent mixed messages on the long-anticipated update to the Presidential Determination (PD) on resettling refugees. Two months after submitting his proposal to Congress, which signaled his intention to raise the refugee ceiling to 62,500, the President signed a new memorandum but kept the former cap of 15,000. While the new PD removed exclusionary categories that have prevented hundreds of refugees from arriving this year, it did not meet the President's earlier promises

This news prompted a swell of outrage from resettlement agencies, advocates, and even Biden's fellow Democrats.   

Not long after this pushback began, the White House issued another statement claiming that "we expect the President to set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15." While the White House has reiterated that 15,000 is not the final number for this fiscal year, they have not indicated what their new target is, citing the need to "rebuild our resettlement program."

Now is the time for advocates to continue putting pressure on the Administration to keep their word and increase the number in May as promised. Links to petitions and other actions in support of refugee resettlement can be found here.

The number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody has dropped drastically, but the number in HHS facilities remains high

There were 2,515 unaccompanied children in CBP custody on April 15th - a drop of over 50% from the reported high of 5,767 on March 28th. While it's a positive development that fewer children are being held in jail-like CBP facilities, their average time in CBP custody remains unacceptably high at an average of 122 hours before moving to an ORR shelter. Meanwhile, HHS facilities continue to have high occupancy increases. On April 15th, HHS had 19,798 children in their care.

Biden nominated new leadership for CBP and USCIS

This week the Biden administration announced multiple nominations to fill key leadership roles at the Department of Homeland Security, including Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus as Commissioner of CBP and the director of DHS Watch, Ur Jaddou, as Director of USCIS.