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Politics Psaki Now Says Biden to Raise Refugee Cap by May 15, Cites ‘Confusion’ over Directive

00:40  17 april  2021
00:40  17 april  2021 Source:   nationalreview.com

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Psaki Says Biden Will Announce ‘Final, Increased Refugee Cap ’ Next Month After Widespread Outcry. The Biden White House is now trying to do some cleanup, with a statement Friday afternoon by press secretary Jen Psaki saying , “The president’s directive today has been the subject of some confusion .” Psaki ’s statement says that Biden will “set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15 .”

Former President Donald Trump lowered the refugee cap for FY 2021 to 15 ,000 -- something the Biden had pledged both during the campaign and his first days in office to raise . "With that done, we expect the President to set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15 ." The controversy represents the latest political difficulty for the Biden administration, which has been facing intense pushback over its handling of the continued crisis at the southern border.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday afternoon that President Joe Biden will raise the Trump-era refugee cap by May 15, and suggested that earlier reports to the contrary were the product of “confusion” about the executive order the president signed hours earlier.

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia in the East Room at the White House, April 15, 2021. © Tom Brenner/Reuters President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia in the East Room at the White House, April 15, 2021.

Biden signed an emergency determination on Friday morning to speed the processing of prospective refugees, but declined to raise the Trump administration’s refugee cap of 15,000-per-year, prompting reports that he had abandoned an earlier pledge to raise the cap.

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President Joe Biden has resisted signing off on raising the Trump-era refugee cap because of political optics, sources have told CNN.

On Friday, Mr Biden signed an order designed to speed up refugee admissions to the US - since October just over 2,000 have been admitted. The order also changes the allocation of who is allowed in, with more slots being provided to arrivals from Africa, the Middle East and Central America, and an end to restrictions on resettlements from Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The White House has indicated the limit may still be raised , and spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the delay was because it "took us some time to see and evaluate how ineffective, or how trashed in some ways the refugee processing system had become".

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Psaki attributed the delay in raising the cap to lengthy deliberations about the optimal level of refugee resettlement.

“The President’s directive today has been the subject of some confusion,” Psaki said in a statement. “Last week, he sent to Congress his budget for the fiscal year starting in October 2021, which honors his commitment.  For the past few weeks, he has been consulting with his advisors to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and October 1.”

Psaki went on to say that the administration’s initial goal of settling 62,500 refugees this year, announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in February, was too ambitious given the policies the administration inherited from its predecessors.

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CNN cites unnamed sources who say Biden has resisted signing off on raising the Trump-era refugee cap because of political optics. That may be the case, but it doesn’t reflect well for Biden to publicly pledge to do something, and then renege on that pledge, because he thinks it will be unpopular Yesterday, Jen Psaki had an almost comical inability to explain why Biden hadn’t signed an executive order he had promised more than two months ago: Q You know, we hear a lot of concerns from your allies on Capitol Hill. And I think the big concern is not necessarily, right now , when is the President

The Biden administration has come under increased scrutiny over recent weeks for the delay in signing off on the proposed increase to the refugee ceiling. Biden had resisted raising the Trump-era refugee cap because of political optics, sources have told CNN, at a time when the administration has been facing heat from Republicans and Democrats for its handling of an influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border. But the situation at the US southern border is separate from the refugee program, which dates back decades and has a thorough vetting process in place for refugees overseas to resettle in

“Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely,” she said.

The Biden administration is concerned that raising the refugee cap would put undue pressure on the Department of Health and Human Services while the agency attempts to house migrant children at the southern border, a senior administration official told the New York Times. However, refugees from overseas are processed via a separate system from migrant children seeking asylum.

“The President remains committed to raising the refugee cap, and I can assure anyone who has concerns that that remains the case,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing on Thursday.

The Biden administration will propose slight changes to subcategories of refugee slots, which under the Trump administration prioritized Iraqis working for the U.S. military and other foreign nationals facing religious persecution.

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Biden says administration will raise refugee cap in first comments after Friday's back and forth .
President Joe Biden said Saturday his administration will increase the refugee cap after a back and forth on Friday where the administration first announced it would keep the cap at the historically low level set by former President Donald Trump, before reversing course after facing blowback from refugee advocacy groups and Democrats in Congress. © Andrew Harnik/AP FILE - In this April 15, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden speaks about Russia in the East Room of the White House in Washington. In recent days, Biden has piled new sanctions on Russia, announced he would withdraw all U.S.

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