Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, an global Jewish humanitarian organization that provides services to refugees and asylum-seekers in 16 countries, said in a statement that Biden had broken his "repeated promises to significantly raise this year's refugee admissions cap". By the end of his term, Trump reduced the limit to just 15,000 refugees per year, about 1/10 of what Barack Obama set during his last year in office.
'The president does not feel that children coming to our border, seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships and other dire circumstances is a crisis, ' White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday's briefing. "Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited", she said it's now "unlikely" Biden will be able to boost that number to 62,500, as he had proposed in his plan to Congress two months ago. Trump limited most spots to people fleeing religious persecution, Iraqis who have assisted US forces there, and people from Central America's Northern Triangle.
Efforts to lower the number of refugees in the United States even provoked the California progressive to characterize the Trump administration as complicit in atrocities overseas similar to the holocaust of the early 20th-century.
'There was an increase of unaccompanied children at the border, ' Psaki pointed out.
Republican lawmakers and governors have accused Biden of facilitating the border crisis by reversing several of President Donald Trump's orders meant to curb illegal immigration, including border wall construction and the "Remain in Mexico" policy.
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Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he didn't buy that.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken indicated that the number would be higher than 15,000, but lower than the 62,500 that Biden had previously promised by October 1, the end of the fiscal year.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress on February 12 of a plan to raise the ceiling on admissions to 62,500, but no presidential determination followed.
Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Biden in a letter on Friday that his inaction "undermines your declared goal to reverse your predecessor's refugee policies".
The emergency declaration Biden signed on Friday includes more refugee slots for people from Central America, Africa and the Middle East. A reserve of about 1,000 slots can be used as needed.
Trump limited most spots to people fleeing religious persecution, Iraqis who have assisted USA forces there, and people from Central America's Northern Triangle.