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Admin Expected to Keep Refugee Cap     09/28 06:11


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Biden administration is expected to keep the cap on 
refugees admitted to the country at 125,000 for the next fiscal year, which 
begins Sunday.

   Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats, said in a 
statement Wednesday the administration was keeping the cap the same. The 
administration consults with Congress on the number. Two U.S. officials, 
speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the decision before the 
announcement, confirmed the cap was expected to remain at 125,000.

   The cap is the target for how many refugees the United States aims to admit 
from around the world in any given year, but it doesn't necessarily mean the 
U.S. will admit that many. As of the end of August, the U.S. had admitted only 
about 51,000 of the possible 125,000 for the current fiscal year.

   However, refugee advocates have noted that even that figure is a huge 
increase from where the program was at the end of the Trump administration and 
have praised government efforts to rebuild the program.

   The president decides every year on the refugee cap and signs a declaration 
laying out which regions of the world they will come from.

   "The Biden administration is demonstrating its commitment to the United 
States' role in protecting vulnerable refugees by maintaining a refugee cap of 
125,000 for Fiscal Year 2024," said the statement from Jayapal, of Washington, 
and Nadler, of New York. They also applauded the administration for aiming to 
resettle more refugees from the Western Hemisphere, but gave no breakdown on 
those numbers.

   For decades, America admitted more refugees each year than all other 
countries combined, only to fall behind Canada in 2018.

   Admissions under the program hit an all-time low of 11,411 arrivals in 2021. 
But this year has seen a rise in the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. 
following government efforts to beef up staffing and make more trips -- called 
circuit rides -- to foreign countries to interview prospective refugees.

   Refugee status is different from other types of protection, such as asylum, 
humanitarian parole or Temporary Protected Status.

   To be admitted as refugees, people have to be living outside the U.S. They 
are generally referred to the State Department by the U.N.'s refugee agency and 
then U.S. officials interview and vet them while they're still abroad. To seek 
asylum, a person has to be on U.S. soil.

   The decision on next year's refugee cap comes as the U.S. is seeing 
unprecedented numbers of migrants coming to the southern border, many hoping to 
seek asylum in the U.S.

   The Biden administration has used various paths to admit people into the 
country or allow them to stay once they get here, such as humanitarian parole 
or Temporary Protected Status. Just last week the president extended protection 
to nearly 500,000 Venezuelans already in the country. And the administration 
has admitted tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion and 
Afghans airlifted from Afghanistan on humanitarian parole.

   But advocates have often argued for greater use of the refugee system in 
large part because it provides people coming into the country with a long-term 
pathway to citizenship. People admitted under humanitarian parole, for example, 
can usually only stay for two years.

   Some refugee advocates have been pushing for a slightly higher cap. The 
Refugee Council USA, which represents nearly 40 groups that advocate for 
refugees, had advocated for 135,000 with a much more ambitious goal of 200,000 
by fiscal year 2026.

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