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Refugee families urge Biden to keep promise to up admissions

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The families of refugees and their supporters, together with 124 elected officers, despatched President Joe Biden a letter Tuesday urging him to make good on his promise to enhance refugee admissions to the United States in the course of the present funds year, changing the document low quantity set by his predecessor.

Biden offered a plan to Congress two months in the past to elevate the ceiling on admissions to 62,500 and to remove restrictions imposed by former President Donald Trump which have disqualified a major variety of refugees, together with these fleeing warfare.

But Biden has not issued a presidential willpower since his administration notified Congress, as required by regulation. The motion doesn’t require congressional approval and previous presidents have issued such presidential determinations that set the cap on refugee admissions shortly after the notification to Congress.

The Biden administration has given no clarification as to why the president has saved the refugee admissions cap of 15,000 set by Trump, the bottom it has been within the 41-year-old U.S. Refugee Resettlement program’s historical past. The White House had no instant response to the letter Tuesday.

“This continues to have a devastating impact on people in dire need of humanitarian protection,” states the letter signed by the families of refugees, resettlement companies and 124 state and native elected officers from 35 states.

Only about 2,050 refugees have been allowed in to the United States due to the restrictions set by Trump, companies stated.

Every day that passes with none motion “leaves hundreds of refugee families in limbo in refugee camps and many waiting to be reunited with their loved ones here in the U.S. waiting for us to uphold our promise to protect,” the letter states.

“We hope that President Biden will listen to our voices,” stated Nejra Sumic, one of many refugee organizers of the letter.

The State Department, which coordinates flights with resettlement companies, booked 715 refugees to come to the United States with the anticipation that Biden would have acted by March, however these flights had been canceled because the refugees weren’t eligible below Trump’s guidelines, in accordance to resettlement companies.

Most of the refugees are from Africa and fleeing armed battle or political persecution. Most spots are allotted for individuals fleeing non secular persecution, Iraqis who’ve assisted U.S. forces there, and folks from Central America’s Northern Triangle, the resettlement companies say.

Among those that had their tickets canceled was a pregnant girl from Congo who can now not fly as a result of she is now in her third trimester, stated Mark Hetfield, president of HIAS, a Maryland-based Jewish nonprofit that’s one in every of 9 companies that resettles refugees within the U.S.

“There is simply no rationale for not making this change at this time,” he stated, including that it’s creating “so much extra stress for refugees.”

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Associated Press author Aamer Madhani in Washington contributed to this report.

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