Biden Decision Not to Lift Trump Historic Low Refugee Cap ‘Deeply Disappointing’

Please see below statement from Refugees International President Eric P. Schwartz: 

“The president’s decision to reaffirm the refugee admissions ceiling of his predecessor is deeply disappointing, and makes the Trump and Biden administrations jointly responsible for the lowest ceiling since the start of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program some four decades ago.

Refugees who have been fully vetted by U.S. officials will now continue to wait in vulnerable situations, as this decision leaves them in continued limbo.

In its February consultation with Congress, the Biden administration expressed an intention to raise the refugee resettlement ceiling to 62,500 for this fiscal year, but officials have now suggested that capacity constraints have compelled them to maintain the current ceiling.

That suggestion is without merit. Government agencies and the voluntary organizations that assist in resettlement have substantial capacity to resettle far more than 15,000 individuals this year.

As the Biden-Harris campaign itself stated when it pledged to rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program: “we cannot mobilize other countries to meet their humanitarian obligations if we are not ourselves upholding our cherished democratic values…”  

Refugee resettlement saves lives, bolsters U.S. national security, supports our allies, and enriches our communities in countless ways. Refugees are our friends, neighbors, and teachers, and they serve overwhelmingly as frontline workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the crisis is in its second year. With governments around the world providing protection to millions of refugees, the United States must step up amid unprecedented global need.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact me at or +1 202 540 7029. 


Photo Caption: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers brief remarks to the press during a meeting with members of his cabinet and immigration advisors in the State Dining Room on March 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.