The U.S. will receive 125,000 refugees per year, eight times more than this year.

 Sylvie Claire / February 5, 2021

 

Joe Biden announced Thursday his intention to multiply by eight the number of refugees that can be admitted to the United States compared to the historic low imposed by Donald Trump at the end of his mandate.

 

We are facing a crisis of more than 80 million displaced people suffering worldwide, Biden said, announcing a presidential decree allowing to increase refugee admissions to 125,000 for the first full fiscal year of the new administration, which will begin on October 1.

 

The new president is keeping his campaign pledge under the resettlement program, which only affects 15,000 people for the current budget year. This historically low figure was announced nearly a month before the lost November presidential election by Donald Trump, who made the fight against immigration - legal and illegal - one of the markers of his presidency. Under the mandate of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, 100,000 people were welcomed each year on average. This program only concerns refugees selected by US security and intelligence agencies in UN camps around the world to be resettled in the United States, mainly among the most vulnerable such as the elderly, widows and disabled. Joe Biden stressed that the resettlement program would also protect members of the LGBT community.

 

We are making sure to promote the rights of these people by fighting criminalization and protecting refugees and asylum seekers belonging to this community, he said during a speech at the state department. We have provided safe havens for those fleeing violence and persecution, and our example has prompted other countries to open their doors wide, Biden said in a State Department speech.

 

For years, the United States has hosted more refugees than all other countries combined, but Canada overtook them in 2019 by opening its doors to more than 30,000 migrants, according to United Nations figures. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi welcomed this announcement. President Biden's action will save lives, it's that simple, he said in a statement. It also shows that strength is rooted in compassion, he added, while according to the UN the number of refugees hosted in the world has never been so low for twenty years despite record levels of forced displacement, in large part due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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