President Biden Breaks Promise to Raise Refugee Admissions Cap

WASHINGTON — On April 16, President Biden announced the U.S.’ refugee admissions cap for this fiscal year will remain at the all-time low of 15,000 set by the Trump administration. At the same time, the president is ending the existing discriminatory quotas on the number of refugees who can be resettled from certain countries. While HIAS welcomes the end of these restrictions, today’s announcement is a bitter disappointment. 

President Biden has broken his repeated promises to significantly raise this year’s refugee admissions cap. His long delay in signing today's order means the United States could fall well short of resettling 15,000 refugees this fiscal year. While President Biden has often spoken about America’s moral responsibilities to refugees, today he has failed to back his words with actions.

“The global need for resettlement has never been greater,” said Mark Hetfield, HIAS’ president and CEO. “President Biden must make good on the promises he made to rebuild refugee resettlement and help restore America’s role as a global humanitarian leader. HIAS is ready and eager to help his administration in that effort.”

Raising the refugee ceiling — also called the Presidential Determination, or PD — is an essential step in repairing America’s refugee resettlement system. Welcoming more refugees to the United States will give tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people the chance to build new lives in the U.S. It will also revive the community-based organizations that help refugees integrate successfully into their new communities. The Biden administration has pledged to rebuild the U.S.’ refugee resettlement system, but it cannot do so without significantly raising the PD.

HIAS will do everything in our power to hold President Biden accountable to reaching the 15,000-person goal he has set, increasing that limit during the current fiscal year, and setting and reaching his promised goal of 125,000 for the next fiscal year.


HIAS is the international Jewish humanitarian organization that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers in 16 countries. We advocate for the rights of all forcibly displaced people to rebuild their lives and seek to create a world in which they find safety, opportunity, and welcome.

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