USCRI Statement on Refugee Admissions Ceiling for Fiscal Year 2023

By USCRI September 28, 2022

On September 27, 2022, President Biden set the refugee admissions ceiling at 125,000 for the coming fiscal year. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) welcomes the administration’s pledges to rebuild and strengthen the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by expanding capacity and modernizing and streamlining its operations. The Biden administration must work with resettlement agencies to ensure refugee admissions come close to reaching the goals of the admissions ceiling.  

Over the past year, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide topped 100 million for the first time on record. The Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. Protracted conflict in countries such as Ethiopia, Myanmar, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo further exacerbated displacement trends. Furthermore, climate change continues to force people from their homes as they try to save their lives and preserve their livelihoods in the mounting face of storms, droughts, and floods. 

The Fiscal Year 2023 Presidential Determination represents the same admissions ceiling as Fiscal Year 2022, which was the highest admissions goal set since 1993. However, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program fell well short of that this fiscal year—only welcoming 19,919 refugees under USRAP through August 31. Those admission rates are less than 20 percent of the refugee admissions ceiling set this time last year. Addressing and narrowing this gap is more important than celebrating any lofty ceiling set by the administration.  

“USRAP must be strengthened, modernized, and streamlined so USCRI and other resettlement agencies can reach this admissions ceiling,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “USRAP should be diverse and inclusive, reflecting America’s interests and values now more than ever.”  

“Emergency programs such the Afghan Placement and Assistance and Uniting for Ukraine programs were essential lifelines in the face of these crises,” he added “However, it is vitally important that the existing refugee admissions program itself be equipped to resettle displaced people in this country with dignity. The United States cannot afford to miss its refugee admissions target as widely again.” 

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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