Refugee Program Rebuild Must Continue, USCRI Urges After Biden Sets Admissions Ceiling

By USCRI September 29, 2023

On September 29, President Biden set the refugee admissions ceiling at 125,000 for the coming fiscal year.

Forced displacement from war, persecution, and violence continues to trend upward across the world. Millions of Afghans, Ukrainians, and Venezuelans remain displaced from instability in their home countries. The crisis in Sudan and other sources of fragility, conflict, and violence are continuing to drive the global need for durable solutions for displaced populations, including third-country resettlement.

The Fiscal Year 2024 Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions represents the same admissions ceiling as the previous two fiscal years. However, as of August 31, the United States has admitted only 51,321 (41%) of the annual ceiling refugees for the fiscal year, which began October 2022.

“The United States has made important strides to rebuild domestic refugee resettlement capacity— but that work must continue and ramp up in the coming year,” U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program must be a modern, efficient, robustly, inclusive supported program to effectively offer protection to the planet’s most vulnerable populations.”

“The target should be in reach this year,” he added.

USCRI is heartened by indications that refugee admissions will be increased for the Western Hemisphere amid large-scale displacement from countries in crisis such as Venezuela.

Increased arrivals are also expected through the continued rollout of the Welcome Corps, the private sponsorship program that launched in January and welcomed its first refugees through Phase I in June. Sponsor groups will soon be able to refer specific refugees for resettlement in the second phase of the Welcome Corps.

“We look forward to private sponsorship through the Welcome Corps serving as an additive fixture in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program’s full welcoming potential,” Negash said.

USCRI will continue to advocate for stronger protections through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for groups with urgent humanitarian considerations, such as Eritreans in Sudan and Ethiopia, Afghans in Pakistan, and various refugee populations like Rohingya and South Sudanese refugees at risk from on-going conflict.

“We must meet this moment in global displacement with more than selective humanity, where some groups receive robust support and access to pathways while others are forgotten,” Negash said. “The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is a long-standing success story in third-country resettlement, and we must continue to be innovative on how its protections reach the most vulnerable.”

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

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