CWS Commends President Biden for Fulfilling Pledge to Increase Refugee Admissions Goal to 62,500 in FY 2021

May 3, 2021

CWS Commends President Biden for Fulfilling Pledge to Increase Refugee Admissions Goal to 62,500 in FY 2021

Setting the stage to set an admissions goal of 125,000 next year, CWS urges the administration to immediately rebuild the resettlement program to resettle as many refugees as possible this year

Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today commended President Biden’s announcement to formally increase the FY 2021 refugee admissions goal to 62,500 for the remainder of the fiscal year. This will allow thousands of screened refugees to finally be resettled in the United States to join family members, escape peril and build new lives in safety. This follows a months-long delay in finalizing an increased admissions goal, which jeopardized the safety of many and had caused irreparable damage to thousands of refugees who were already approved for resettlement.

“Today’s decision sends a clear message that the United States views the resettlement program as an embodiment of our values of compassion and welcome. The past four years decimated the resettlement program, and we are pleased that the administration finally fulfilled its promise to raise the refugee admissions goal. This increase in refugee admissions will save many lives, revitalize communities, and set the stage for rebuilding and strengthening refugee protection and resettlement,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service. 

“The three-month delay in formalizing the increased admissions goal disheartened our communities and caused real harm to thousands of refugees who had been approved for resettlement earlier this year. It is imperative that the United States immediately rebuild the domestic and international infrastructure to expand our resettlement capacity, resettle as many refugees this year as possible and do everything possible to rebuild the program and set an FY 2022 admissions goal of 125,000.”

“Communities across the country can now return to the proud work of welcoming new neighbors and reuniting families. We look forward to working with the White House as we rebuild the refugee program, both now and in the future.”

Although the Biden administration eliminated the previous administration’s discriminatory regional allocations and restored regional allocations last month, CWS was previously outraged by the Biden administration’s April 16th decision to keep the historic-low admissions goal in place. Since the inception of the modern resettlement program through the Refugee Act of 1980, the annual bipartisan-supported admissions goal averaged 95,000. Yet, under the Trump administration, that goal plummeted, culminating in a then-FY 2021 goal of 15,000—an historic low.

As the administration honors its commitment to restoring the role of the U.S. as a global humanitarian leader by revising the FY21 admissions goal, Church World Service further urges the administration to also welcome asylum seekers and unaccompanied children, terminate all anti-asylum policies like the immoral Title 42 expulsions, and live out our moral leadership across the globe.

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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