CWS Applauds Biden on New Refugee Admissions Goal, but More to be Done

October 8, 2021

Washington, D.C.—CWS today commended the new FY 2022 Presidential Determination from the Biden administration to welcome 125,000 refugees next year and urged the administration to meaningfully rebuild and strengthen the resettlement program to expand our nation’s capacity to welcome. The organization notes that while compensating for the failures of the past four years, more needs to be done to address the worst global refugee crisis in history. CWS specifically recognizes that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan requires the United States to ensure that at-risk Afghans forced from their homes are helped to safety. 

“We applaud President Biden for the new refugee admissions goal, as it redresses the failings of the past four years, follows through on his promise to start rebuilding the program and provides a vital lifeline for refugee families. But this is just one step. With the recent lapse in U.S. leadership on resettlement, along with the need to provide safe harbor to our friends and allies in Afghanistan, it’s not enough to just meet expectations, but to exceed them. That is why the administration should not just set a goal, but invest in the overseas and domestic infrastructure to make it a reality,” said Erol Kekic, Senior Vice President for the Immigration and Refugee Program at CWS. “Refugees make our country stronger; they are our neighbors, making our nation richer. They join us as mothers and fathers, as schoolmates and coworkers, helping us realize our better selves. The Biden administration must work to ensure that those who only wish to live lives in safety have the access to do so.”

CWS calls on the administration and Congress to robustly invest in the U.S. refugee resettlement program so it can be rebuilt stronger and better than before. CWS further recognizes that the United States can and should restore all asylum protections, end “Title 42” expulsions, and stop deporting and expelling our Haitian neighbors.

The modern U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was established by the bipartisan Refugee Act of 1980 following the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. The United States welcomed over 207,000 refugees in the year that followed. Each year the president, after consulting with Congress, sets the refugee admissions goal, also called the Presidential Determination, in response to global developments, foreign policy goals and humanitarian need. During the Trump administration, however, refugee admissions were severely cut by more than 80%, causing irreparable damage to refugee families.

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. 

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