President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Thursday US’s decision to open its doors to thousands of more refugees compared to the Trump administration that had taken those numbers to a historic low.
In November, 2020, Mr Biden pledged to raise the number of refugees being allowed entry into the US to 125,000 a year, up from the low of 15,000 set by the Trump administration.
The final increase in the number of refugees will become clear once the plan is announced by the president. It is believed that the plan could be to wait till October 2021 when the next fiscal year begins, reported CNN News, quoting sources familiar with the plans.
Every year, the US administration sets a limit to the number of refugees it would allow into the country. During the last year of the presidency of Barack Obama, the number of refugees allowed into the US was increased from 85,000 in the fiscal year 2016 to 110,000 in the fiscal year 2017.
Sikh Coalition, a US-based organisation working for civil and human rights, urged Mr Biden to “move as quickly as possible to see through his promise to raise the annual global refugee admissions cap to 125,000.”
“This action will further support ongoing efforts to resettle Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in the US. #RefugeesWelcome,” tweeted the Sikh Coalition.
The plan for refugees will be the latest measure announced by President Biden since he assumed office on 20 January. Many of those orders have been aimed at reversing the policies of Donald Trump’s presidency and setting a new course for US policy.
For instance, Mr Biden recently announced a task force that would look at reuniting families which were separated at the US-Mexico border.
On Tuesday, President Biden had said “there’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders that I have signed — I’m not making new law; I’m eliminating bad policy.”
“What I’m doing is taking on the issues that — 99 per cent of them — that the president — the last president of the US issued executive orders I felt were very counterproductive to our security, counterproductive to who we are as a country, particularly in — in the area of immigration. This is about how America is safer, stronger, more prosperous when we have a fair, orderly, and humane, and legal immigration system,” said Mr Biden.
This plan was welcomed by the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, who said that US’s commitment “reflects authentic humanitarian values and reaffirms US leadership amid global levels of forced displacement unseen since World War II.”
Matthew Reynolds, the UNHCR’s representative to the US and the Caribbean, said: ““We are heartened by the executive actions taken today by President Biden. These steps confirm an American tradition of compassion for the vulnerable and are an important signal for all countries in formulating responses that are at once humane and secure.”
During a recent interview with MSNBC, when the secretary of state Antony J Blinken was asked whether the US should join Britain in opening its doors to refugees fleeing the political repression in Hong Kong, he replied, “I believe we should.”
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