Awareness - May 16, 2024 - We Welcome

Awareness - May 16, 2024

Lower refugee resettlement numbers for the second month in a row

The U.S. resettled 6,390 refugees in April, a significant decrease from the 7,431 resettled in March. March’s numbers were already a decrease of 2,820 from February. The total number of refugees resettled in Fiscal Year 2024 is now 55,063. The U.S. would need to resettle almost 14,000 refugees per month for the 5 months remaining in the fiscal year in order to reach the 125,000 cap set by the Biden administration for 2024. According to the policy team at the National Immigration Forum, it appears as though the refugee pipeline has been depleted and can no longer sustain high resettlement numbers each month. 

Biden administration announces new rule to speed up asylum processing for some migrants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new regulation that would allow immigration officials to more quickly identify and deport migrants who pose security risks earlier in the asylum process. It would provide asylum officers with the ability to make decisions about specific barriers to asylum around public safety and national security during the initial screening process, which happens within the first few days or weeks after the asylum seeker enters the U.S.

Officials also announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new guidance giving asylum officers the ability to decide whether or not an asylum seeker who expresses a fear of persecution could relocate somewhere else within their home country to seek safety there rather than have to relocate to the U.S. This “internal relocation” standard will also be applied during initial screenings.

Immigrants’ rights advocates have expressed concern about the proposed rule because some migrants may be wrongfully banned from entering the U.S. without having access to due process due to the speed in which the decisions around public safety and national security would be made. Advocates have also raised concerns about the USCIS guidance because of the possibility that people could be returned to dangerous situations if internally relocated within their home countries. To learn more, check out this explainer by the National Immigration Forum.