The Biden administration set the annual refugee ceiling to allow up to 125,000 refugees into the United States for the fiscal year 2023. World Relief affirms this decision, which comes at a time when the world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis but urges the Biden administration and Congress to do more to strengthen the U.S. refugee and asylum programs in order to aid individuals and families seeking protection from persecution.
“The 125,000 ceiling for the fiscal year 2023 is a welcome goal,” said World Relief U.S. Director for Church Mobilization and Advocacy Matthew Soerens. “However, it’s also the same goal that the U.S. has fallen short of by roughly 100,000 refugees in the fiscal year that is ending this week, which demonstrates that setting a relatively high refugee ceiling is not sufficient. The administration and Congress must work together to commit more resources and enact reforms to our refugee resettlement program to ensure we can actually reach the goal of resettling 125,000 refugees while fully supporting refugee integration when they arrive in the United States.”
The U.S. refugee resettlement program has been a vital tool in protecting those facing violence and persecution. In the past year, the U.S. has offered protection to tens of thousands of individuals from countries including Afghanistan and Ukraine; however, the majority of these individuals were not formally admitted as refugees, which has meant they face an uncertain future and a lack of access to permanent legal status. The Biden administration and Congress must strengthen and rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program to continue to aid Afghans and Ukrainians, offer resettlement to those who have fled protracted refugee situations many years or even decades ago, and be able to nimbly respond to emerging refugee crises.
U.S. law also rightly offers protection for those seeking refuge at U.S. borders through our asylum process. World Relief urges the Biden administration to ensure due process for asylum seekers who reach the U.S., while also encouraging the administration to rebuild the refugee resettlement program so as to allow more individuals to access safety in the U.S. without the need for a dangerous journey to the U.S. border.
“At a moment when there are more refugees globally than at any time in recorded history, we need ongoing leadership from the U.S. government to rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program,” said World Relief President and CEO Myal Greene. “In partnership with hundreds of local churches, World Relief is eager and ready to welcome more refugees and ensure they have the support that they need to integrate into new communities and thrive.”
A recent Lifeway Research poll found that 70% of American evangelicals believe the U.S. has a moral obligation to receive refugees.