Friday, December 3

Biden will increase refugee quota, there will be announcement in mid-May

  • Biden will raise refugee quota amid barrage of criticism from Democrats themselves for keeping Trump’s 15,000 number
  • The Democratic president had promised to raise the number of refugees admitted to 62,500 for this fiscal year, which ends in September.
  • Of the 15,000 that will be admitted for now, 3,000 may come from Latin America and the Caribbean

Biden will increase refugee quota. The White House on Friday gave in to a barrage of criticism from Democrats and announced that President Joe Biden will raise the annual quota of refugees the country receives before mid-May, which for now is 15,000, Efe reported.

The announcement comes hours after the Biden administration ordered to keep the annual quota for this fiscal year at 15,000, the same historically low level that his predecessor, Donald Trump, marked.

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It involved going back

That meant reversing his executive’s promise to raise up to 62,500 refugees admitted this fiscal year, which ends in September, and earned the Democratic president multiple criticisms from his own party and various non-governmental organizations.

“The president plans to set a final refugee quota before May 15 that will be higher (than 15,000) for the remainder of the fiscal year,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. Of the 15,000 that will be admitted for now, a maximum of 3,000 may come from Latin America and the Caribbean, according to Biden’s order, which specifically mentions those from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Cuba.

What previously happened

Joe Biden signed an emergency order on Friday that officials say will speed up the admission of refugees to the United States, but the president did not raise the historically low limit imposed by his predecessor Donald Trump of 15,000 refugees a year.

Instead, Biden is tightening the allocation limits set by Trump, which officials said have been the driving factor behind limitations on refugee admissions. The new allocations provide more positions for refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central America, and increase restrictions on resettlement of refugees from Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

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Barely 2,000 resettled

Since the start of the fiscal year on October 1, just 2,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States. A senior government official said Biden’s assignments, formalized in an emergency presidential order, could result in expedited admissions of already screened refugees in a matter of days.

More than two months ago, Biden promised to raise the refugee limit for next fiscal year to 125,000 and indicated that he would try to “preview” it this year, but acknowledged that it would not be easy.

They plan to use the 15,000 available seats

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“It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so damaged,” Biden said Friday at the State Department.

The White House said it plans to use the 15,000 seats available under the current cap. The senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal the matter, said Biden would also raise the cap this year if necessary, but that the priority was to adjust from which areas the refugees would be admitted.

Most will be for Africa

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Under the new allocation, some 7,000 seats are reserved for refugees from Africa, 1,000 from Asia, 1,500 from Europe and Central Asia, 3,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 1,500 from the Near East and South Asia, and a reserve of 1,000 seats to be used according to need.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that Biden’s delay in action was “because it took us time to assess how ineffective and destroyed the refugee processing system had become in certain ways and therefore we had to rebuild some of those muscles and re-establish it ”.

Decision promises to outrage

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Officials also mentioned the coronavirus pandemic, but noted that expanded vaccination and testing campaigns are facilitating the processing of new refugee admissions.

The decision promises to outrage many human rights organizations and members of the Democratic Party, to which Biden belongs, including the president of the Lower House, Nancy Pelosi, who had asked him to raise the maximum refugee limit for this fiscal year, Efe reported .

Venezuelans urge Senators Rubio and Scott to vote in favor of immigration law

Biden will raise quota of refugees
Senator Marco Rubio. Photo: AP

A coalition of Venezuelan leaders in the country will meet this Saturday in a “National Summit” to ask Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to support a bill that provides permanent residence to beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

William Díaz, founder of the National Network of Houses of Venezuela, told Efe on Friday that with so many statements made by the Republican Scott in repudiation of the Nicolás Maduro regime, he “trusts” in obtaining their support.

They will claim the vote

Senador Rick Scott. Photo: Getty

Organizations like Díaz’s will demand the vote of the Republicans, especially Scott and Rubio, for the approval of the bill for the so-called Safe Environment in Countries Under Repression and Emergency (SECURE) bill.

Rubio, of Cuban origin, “has supported Venezuelans in the fight for democracy and Scott has expressed his support for Venezuelan beneficiaries of TPS to have a path to citizenship, but so far neither of them has sponsored the project of law ”, underlined the organizers.

Help from 10 Republicans

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They recalled that the measure was introduced by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen and needs at least one Republican cosponsor, plus the support of 10 Republican senators to become law. For Díaz, it is crucial that both senators, who represent Florida in Washington and whom he considers friends of that community, support the initiative that would help TPS holders from 12 countries, including Venezuela, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador to have permanent immigration status.

“We need the vote of 10 Republicans, we trust the vote of Rubio and Scott,” reiterated Díaz. The virtual summit, organized by Venezuelan groups, will bring together journalists, activists, civil and pro-immigration groups, and business and religious leaders.

Unsuccessfully

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Among the organizations will be the Florida Immigrant Coalition, IMPAC Fund, We Are More, FWD.us, Proyecto Pulso, Alianza Americas, Venezuelan Alliance Massachusetts and Venezuelan American Alliance.

The SECURE project was presented again last February in the US Senate and had already been analyzed without success by that chamber in March 2019.

Stability and path to citizenship

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According to the Venezuelan Association of Massachusetts, Inc, it is a measure that provides “stability and a path to citizenship for TPS and DED (Deffered Enforced Departure) families who have built their lives in the country.

Organizers of the “National Summit” estimate that the law would provide a path to citizenship for some 650,000 TPS recipients, including more than 320,000 Venezuelans, to whom President Joe Biden granted this immigration relief last March.

20-year average

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They pointed out that, in general, the average TPS holder has been in the country for more than 20 years and many of them belong to mixed families of citizens and immigrants who have bought houses and opened businesses, paid taxes and attended schools.

“The SECURE Act would provide that stability. The summit seeks to bring together Republicans and Democrats so that they can pass this important legislation, ”said Kathy Bird Carvajal, Executive Director of the IMPAC Foundation Fund.

Created in 1990, TPS has given temporary legal residency to thousands of people from a dozen countries who came to the United States to escape natural disasters or violence and persecution.

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Filed Under: Biden to Raise Refugee Quota



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