May 03, 2021 4:46 PM

Refugee Leaders Hopeful after President Biden Keeps Promise and Raises Resettlement Goal to 62,500 Admissions for FY 2021

For immediate release
May 3, 2021

Refugee Leaders Hopeful after President Biden Keeps Promise and Raises Resettlement Goal to 62,500 Admissions for FY 2021


The Opportunity for All campaign applauds President Joe Biden’s announcement that after a long and unnecessary delay, his administration will lift the refugee admissions goal to 62,500 refugees for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021. The victory is a testament to the power of refugee activists and human rights advocates who swiftly made the administration reverse course after President Biden announced several weeks ago that his administration would keep the historic annual low of 15,000 initially set by the Trump administration.

On April 6, more than 260 former refugee leaders sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to make good on his commitment to lift the historically low refugee admissions cap by immediately issuing an Emergency Fiscal Year 2021 Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions of 62,500 people.

In heeding the call from refugee leaders across the nation, the President is closer to reaching its key campaign promise to restore the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program after the previous administration gutted resettlement to unprecedented lows that unfairly kept refugees from coming to the United States and joining their relatives and loved ones. The nationwide Opportunity for All campaign and refugee leaders across the country applaud President Biden’s move to restore our nation's role as a place of refuge. We call on the administration to rebuild the resettlement infrastructure and ensure that next year the United States reaches the goal of 125,000 admissions.

"As former refugees, we know that advocacy works. Organizing works. And because of those efforts, today we have won. We thank President Biden for demonstrating a political commitment towards welcoming more refugees. Now our work will continue to ensure that the refugee admissions goal is met and increased to 125,000 refugees next year, and that refugees are integrated into this country," said Basma Alawee, a former refugee from Iraq and co-chair of the Opportunity for All campaign.

"The National Partnership for New Americans is encouraged by President Biden's swift action to raise the resettlement goal in his next 100 days. This action is a strong starting point to send a message that the United States will work to re-establish our standing as a beacon of hope and safety for the world's most vulnerable people seeking safety and refuge in our nation," said Nicole Melaku, executive director of NPNA.


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.