President Joe Biden has yet to make good on his promise in February to raise the country’s refugee acceptance cap, which currently sits at a historic low of 15,000 after ex-President Donald Trump gutted the program.
The reason for Biden’s delay? He’s worried about political optics, according to CNN.
Republicans and right-wing media have been hammering on the President’s immigration policies, working to gin up fear over what they call “Biden’s border crisis” amid a large influx of arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border.
However, the country’s refugee program is unrelated to the immigration process at the border.
The International Rescue Committee reports that only 2,050 refugees have been admitted this fiscal year, which is already halfway over, even though the Biden administration had promised to raise the limit to 62,500 this fiscal year.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of refugees who were already approved are unable to resettle in the U.S. and more than 700 flights have been cancelled, according to the report.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during her daily press briefing on Thursday that Biden “remains committed” to increasing the cap but declined to give a timeline.
Multiple Senate and House Democrats have been airing frustrations with Biden’s delay in recent days.
“The refugee issue is pretty bleak right now,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) told CNN. “We need realistic numbers. These are people who come to our country in an orderly way.”
“I’m definitely concerned,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told the Washington Post. “Refugees are in a particularly vulnerable situation, waiting to get their flights and waiting to be able to get out of camps and really difficult situations.”