For immediate release:
September 21, 2021
Kelsey Parsons | (347) 527-0969 | [email protected]
Opportunity For All Campaign And Refugee Leaders Urge Biden Administration To Raise Refugee Cap To 200,000
WASHINGTON - Yesterday, the Biden administration reported to Congress the new Presidential Determination (PD), recommending that the United States resettle a minimum of 125,000 refugees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The nationwide Opportunity for All (OFA) campaign and refugee leaders across the country commend the Biden administration for taking a first step to restore our nation's role as a place of refuge, but have been urging the Biden administration to set the refugee resettlement Presidential Determination to 200,000 given the situation in Afghanistan and the increased population of people fleeing persecution.
For FY 2021, the Biden administration set refugee admissions to 62,500 people, despite its campaign trail commitment to resettling 125,000 refugees, and only did so after fierce criticism from advocates and Congressional members. Recently, United States Representatives sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to raise the annual refugee cap to 200,000 in 2022 amidst the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and multiple places around the world.
“As a former refugee who has gone through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, I know firsthand how vital this program is,” said Nejra Sumic, former refugee from Bosnia and national field manager at We Are All America. “Not only does it save lives, but during a pivotal moment in history, where we are seeing thousands of people displaced, the U.S. must welcome those seeking refuge. This is why I urge the Biden administration to increase the 2022 refugee admissions to 200,000.”
“As a former refugee, I am excited to hear the administration’s decision to increase the PD for the 2022 fiscal year. With more people being displaced around the world than ever before, I believe increasing the PD numbers is a great first step to our commitment to refugees,” said Kayo Beshir, OFA member and a former refugee. “I urge the administration to not continue dragging their feet towards this vulnerable population and instead immediately double down efforts to rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program that was completely ravaged by the previous administration. Lastly, the treatment of Haitian refugees is unacceptable. I urge the president to address the humanitarian situation and respect Haitians’ human rights by stopping deportation flights to Haiti and ending the use of Title 42,” he added.
“We applaud the Biden administration for raising the refugee admissions goals to 125,000 for the next fiscal year. We still ask the administration to raise the refugee admissions to 200,000 given the exponential need to welcome Afghan evacuees and refugees in the coming weeks,” said Anahita Panahi, California refugee organizer with the We Are All America Campaign.
“We’re thrilled to hear that President Biden is raising refugee admissions to 125,000 for Fiscal Year 2022. We are excited to continue partnering with refugee resettlement agencies across the state of Tennessee as we rebuild and strengthen our refugee resettlement infrastructure and ultimately meet the needs of resettled refugees. This is definitely a win for the movement, but the struggle continues. With the distressing news of Haitian asylum seekers being deported, it is important that we continue to hold the Biden administration accountable for all immigrants and refugees. We hope he follows through with his commitment of raising refugee admissions and admits even more than what he promised. Communities in Tennessee are ready to welcome their new neighbors!” said Kosar Kosar, OFA member and multicultural organizer at Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition.
“I am glad to hear that the Biden administration announced the refugee admissions at 125,000; however, this is only the first step. We need an annual refugee cap that reflects our moral obligation with the Afghan people. Raising the annual refugee admissions to 200,000 is the only appropriate response and would drastically change the lives of many vulnerable Afghan people including: women, children, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and the eldery,”`said Fereshteh Ganjavi, former refugee from Afghanistan and founder & executive director of Elena’s Light. “Refugees contribute to our country, we are entrepreneurs, essential workers, advocates and neighbors. Our nation has the infrastructure to welcome refugees, and now is the time to stand out as a nation of refuge.”
“We applaud this administration's move towards upholding this nation's moral obligation to welcome. However this is only the first step. As crises continue to unfold from Afghanistan to Ethiopia to other countries around the globe we urge the president to further expand the refugee admission goal to 200,000 and invest in rebuilding a robust refugee resettlement program. We are a nation of refuge and we cannot turn our backs on those who are looking for safety, refuge and protection.” said Dagemawit Kebede, communications and advocacy associate for Refugee Congress.
The Opportunity for All campaign, led by refugees and immigrants, is spearheaded by We Are All America, a refugee organizing alliance housed under the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). The campaign seeks to shift social, political, and economic conditions so that refugees and other new arrivals can achieve their full potential and ensure that the United States remains a nation of opportunity for those seeking freedom, safety, and refuge.
We Are All America, a refugee organizing alliance housed under the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). We Are All America works to uphold and strengthen our nation’s commitment to welcome and protect those seeking freedom, safety and refuge in the United States. We organize people across religious and cultural differences to build inclusive communities where we all belong. In addition to NPNA, We Are All America's national partners include Alianza Americas, Church World Service, Human Rights First, International Rescue Committee, Refugee Congress, the Refugee Advocacy Lab, Refugee Council USA, and Welcoming America.