Joe Biden delays plan to increase the number of refugees admitted to the United States

US President Joe Biden has decided to delay his plan for a significant increase in the number of refugees admitted to the United States, and will retain the historically low ceiling of 15,000 people set by Donald Trump, the adviser said on Friday (April 16). to National Security, Jake Sullivan.

Faced with the outcry, unprecedented in his own party since taking power in January, the White House immediately tried to backpedal by ensuring that it was only a provisional decision, called to be revised upwards. ‘by mid-May.

Backpedaling

Joe Biden initially said he wanted to admit up to 60,000 people this fiscal year, before raising the cap to 125,000 in the following fiscal year – an eight-fold increase from the numbers bequeathed by his Republican predecessor. This promise is in line with its stated desire to reconnect with a migration policy. “Human” to turn the page on the anti-migrant restrictions of the Trump years.

But the US government is also facing a crisis at the Mexican border, with thousands of migrants arriving. The Republican opposition accuses Joe Biden of being responsible for a “Call for air”. He finally confirmed the quota set by the ex-president for this year, due to the need to “Rebuild” the refugee admissions program, announced on Friday Jake Sullivan on Twitter.

This program only concerns refugees selected by US security and intelligence agencies in United Nations (UN) camps around the world to be resettled in the United States, mainly among the most vulnerable such as people elderly, widowed or disabled.

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The system was left by the previous government “Worse off than we thought”, “Requiring a major overhaul to achieve the objectives we have set”, explained an American official on condition of anonymity.

Virulent criticism within his democratic camp

The Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Bob Menendez, ruled that the number of 15,000 refugees was “Terribly low” and lamented that the procrastination of the White House helped to slow down the restart of the system. In a letter to President Biden, he said he feared this situation would prevent him from meeting his ambitious goals for the future.

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Other elected Democrats rebelled, like left-wing MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who denounced a choice “Absolutely unacceptable”. “Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise. Maintain the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump administration ” is “Simply bad”, she protested on Twitter.

LIRS, an organization involved in helping refugees in the United States, noted that to date, only 2,000 of them have been received this year under this program, lamenting the decision to maintain the quota. “Shameful” fixed by Donald Trump.

On the other hand, several elected Republicans have, against the tide, welcomed the decision of Joe Biden.

A final quota announced by May 15

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued a statement in response to attacks from the presidential camp, acknowledging that Joe Biden’s decision had shattered “Some confusion”. “Due to the dilapidated state of the refugee admission program we inherited”, “Its initial objective of 62,500 seems elusive”, did she say.

But “We are determined to continue to increase the number of refugees” admitted to the United States, assured the spokesperson.

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The “Memorandum” that the president signed this Friday aims only to restart the machine without delay, she justified in substance, and the objective remains provisional. “The president will set by May 15 a definitive quota, and revised upwards, of refugees for the rest of this budget year”, assured Jen Psaki.

The target of 125,000 refugees admitted in the next budget year, an emblematic promise of candidate Biden, was not explicitly reaffirmed on Friday.

The World with AFP