Biden To Raise Refugee Admissions Cap From Trump Admin’s Historic Low

President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic at the Queen Theater on December 29, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
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February 4, 2021 1:17 p.m.

President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled another reversal of one of ex-President Donald Trump’s harshest crackdowns on immigration.

During his visit to the State Department, Biden announced he would be “approving an executive order” that “will position us to be able to” raise the country’s annual refugee admissions cap to 125,000, which is currently at a historic low of 15,000 thanks to the previous administration.

The proposed increase is part of the President’s push to undo his predecessor’s aggressively anti-immigration policies, most of which were spearheaded by infamous senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

Upon taking office, the Trump administration slashed former President Barack Obama’s proposed cap of 110,000 refugees for 2017 to 50,000 and steadily whittled down the figure over four years.

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Fixing Trump’s devastation to the U.S. immigration system has been one of Biden’s top priorities in the early days of his presidency. On the first day of his swearing-in, the president signed executive orders to halt construction of Trump’s beloved border wall and repeal the Muslim ban. Later that night, his Department of Homeland Security announced a 100-day moratorium on some deportations while the agency reviews its current enforcement policies.

Biden issued another series of executive orders regarding immigration on Tuesday to begin a task force dedicated to reuniting children with their families who had been separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy and to approve investigations into that policy and others.

However, immigration advocates have noted that Biden’s executive order to end federal contracts with private prisons did not extend to ICE.

Note: This story has been updated with Biden’s official announcement.

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