US President Joe Biden is moving to significantly increase the number of refugees his country will resettle annually for the 2022 fiscal year, fulfilling a pledge he made on the campaign trail.
Biden informed Congress that he is raising the admissions target from its current level of 62,500 to 125,000 for the fiscal year that begins in October, the State Department said in a statement.
The decision to raise the cap came after Biden faced significant blowback from his fellow Democrats for failing to hit the higher level. At the time, the administration maintained it was unable to do so because former US President Donald Trump decimated the required bureaucratic infrastructure.
Trump established a limit of some 15,000 refugees during his final months in office, a record low.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said that by raising the resettlement level, the US is "reaffirming our commitment to refugee resettlement in line with our long tradition of providing a safe haven and opportunity to individuals fleeing persecution."
"With the world facing unprecedented global displacement and humanitarian needs, the United States is committed to leading efforts to provide protection and promote durable solutions to humanitarian crises, to include providing resettlement for the most vulnerable," he said in a statement.
The US is in the midst of a mass resettlement of some 60,000 Afghans who fled the country in the wake of its takeover by the Taliban. But due to the rapid nature of the evacuation, they are not legally classified as refugees and do not go toward the cap established by Biden./agencies