Donald Trump appears far more generous than Biden, who came to power on the promise of reversing his immigration policy.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, President Biden made a promise that his administration would “immediately” take action to fundamentally change the course of the nation’s immigration policy. 

Biden announced the admission of at least 125,000 refugees in 2021’s fiscal year —  raising a limit that was at 15,000 under President Trump.

But halfway through this year, Biden is set to actually admit fewer refugees than Trump, an amount that makes his figure the lowest when compared to any other modern US president in recent history, according to the latest report by the International Rescue Committee. 

Only 2,050 refugees have been admitted to the US, a new historical low in the country that was previously marked by Trump’s 15,000 refugees last year.

“Syrian refugees represent the population with the highest resettlement needs for the fifth year in a row – estimated at over 592,000 individuals in 2021 and accounting for over 40 percent of all needs globally,” the report read, noting that Syrian refugees represent the population with the highest resettlement needs for the fifth year in a row. 

“Yet, just 42 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the US this fiscal year. By contrast, 1,285 Syrian refugees were resettled in the first half of FY16.”

There were no Yemenis among those who were accepted into the country by the current administration, amid a humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn country. 

“These categories are nothing short of discriminatory. And there’s no rational relationship between these categories and any security or other concern of the United States,” Nazanin Ash, the IRC’s vice president told the Washington Post.

“They were simply put in place by the Trump administration to restrict refugee admissions and in particular to restrict the admission of black, brown, Asian and Muslim refugees.”

Refugee admissions from the top five countries of origin by resettlement needs (FY16 Q1-Q2 AND FY21 Q1-Q2)
Refugee admissions from the top five countries of origin by resettlement needs (FY16 Q1-Q2 AND FY21 Q1-Q2) (TRTWorld)

Why has Biden’s announcement not yet been applied?

The president is yet to sign the 'presidential determination', or PD — an executive action issued after consultation with Congress. The grounds to delay revising the refugee admissions policy, however, remains unexplained and unjustified, IRC report says. 

The delay in signing not only means there’s a failure to increase that quota, but it also means that the Trump-era policies remain operational, particulary the one that blocks the entry of Muslim and African refugees. 

The lack of decision also put tens of thousands of people in limbo - some who were already cleared for resettlement are still barred from settling within America . Flights expected to arrive in the US with over 715 refugees have been cancelled until a new decision by the president.

Many of the refugees whose flights were cancelled have been waiting in overcrowded camps around the world. 

Source: TRT World