The Biden administration is raising the refugee admissions cap for the next fiscal year to 125,000, a reflection of the goal to which the president aspired during the 2020 campaign.

The move comes as the United States is accepting hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan after the end of U.S. military operations in the country. The administration also cited the expanded resettlement of Central Americans and Myanmar dissidents.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate majority whip, welcomed the news.

“I applaud the Biden administration for setting a target of 125,000 refugee admissions in the next fiscal year – a target my colleagues and I have been advocating for since April,” Durbin said in a statement. “And while I’m disappointed in the projected number of refugees to be admitted this fiscal year, I acknowledge the challenges the Biden administration inherited with the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program due to the anti-immigrant actions of the previous Administration.”

The 125,000 number has long been the aspirational figure that the Biden administration had set for fiscal 2022, which begins Oct. 1.

Earlier this year, President Biden reinforced that goal but cautioned that the number “will still be hard to hit,” attributing his conclusion to the challenges of rebuilding a system that President Donald Trump had dismantled.

The latest move comes after Biden in May raised the cap to 62,500 from the record low of 15,000 set by the Trump administration, which he said “did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.”

According to a report released Monday by the State Department in conjunction with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, the cap for fiscal 2022 is expected to include 40,000 refugees from Africa, 35,000 from the Near East/South Asia, 15,000 from East Asia, 15,000 from Latin America/the Caribbean, and 10,000 from Europe/Central Asia.

An additional 10,000 belong to an unallocated reserve, according to the report.

“In FY 2022, the Administration plans to increase the USRAP target with a particular focus on several key populations and programs: expanded resettlement of Central Americans; enhanced access to the USRAP for Afghans at risk due to their affiliation with the United States; increased resettlement of LGBTQI+ refugees; priority access for at-risk Uyghurs, Hong Kong refugees, and Burmese dissidents; and resettlement of Burmese Rohingya,” the report states. The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim minority that faces discrimination in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

 

The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.

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