WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is formally lifting the nation’s refugee cap to 62,500 this year, according to a congressional aide briefed on the plans.
The move comes weeks after Biden faced bipartisan blowback for his delay in lifting former President Donald Trump's limit of 15,000.
Biden last month moved to expand the eligibility criteria for resettlements, removing one roadblock to refugees entering the U.S., but he initially stopped short of lifting the annual cap.
But Biden faced sharp pushback and swiftly reversed course.
The administration has said it was highly unlikely that Biden could meet the 62,500 cap by the end of the fiscal year in September, given the pandemic and limitations on the country’s resettlement capabilities.
That said, they maintain Biden remains committed to setting the cap at 125,000 for the 2022 fiscal year that starts in October, while they were working to improve U.S. capabilities to process refugees to be able to accept as many of them as possible under the new cap.
Biden says the new limit “erases the historically low number set by the previous administration.”