WASHINGTON, US (CMC) – United States President Joe Biden on Friday allocated 15,000 refugee admissions from Latin America and the Caribbean “for special humanitarian concern” for fiscal year 2022.
In a memorandum for the Secretary of State on Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for fiscal year 2022, Biden said he was affirming “the United States’ deeply-held commitment to welcoming refugees,” raising the overall refugee admissions target to 125,000 for the forthcoming fiscal year.
“The admission of up to 125,000 refugees to the United States during fiscal year 2022 is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest,” Biden said in the White House memorandum.
Besides Latin America and the Caribbean, the US president said the admissions numbers shall be allocated among refugees of “special humanitarian concern” to the United States in accordance with the following regional allocations: Africa, 40,000; East Asia, 15,000; Europe and Central Asia, 10,000; Near East/South Asia, 35,000; and Unallocated Reserve, 10,000.
Biden said the 10,000 unallocated refugee numbers shall be allocated to regional ceilings, as needed.
“Upon providing notification to the Judiciary Committees of the Congress, you are hereby authorised to use unallocated admissions in regions where the need for additional admissions arises,” Biden told US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in the memorandum.
“Additionally, upon notification to the Judiciary Committees of the Congress, you are further authorised to transfer unused admissions allocated to a particular region to one or more other regions, if there is a need for greater admissions for the region or regions to which the admissions are being transferred.”
Biden said he has determined that assistance to, or on behalf of, persons applying for admission to the United States, as part of the overseas refugee admissions program, “will contribute to the foreign policy interests of the United States”, urging Blinken to, therefore, “designate such persons for this purpose.”
In response, Blinken said in a statement that the US “is, and will continue to be, a global leader in international humanitarian response, including in refugee resettlement.”
“Not only are we the largest single humanitarian donor, but we also seek to promote stability in regions experiencing crisis, advance protection and durable solutions for refugees, and facilitate international collaboration to address global refugee and humanitarian crises,” he said, disclosing that, in fiscal year 2020, the US provided more than US$10.5 billion in humanitarian assistance, including assistance for refugees.
The US president also said that if otherwise qualified, persons from Cuba, Eurasia and the Baltics, Iraq, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras may be considered refugees “for the purpose of admission to the United States within their countries of nationality or habitual residence.”
But, amid the Haitian refugee and migration crises, the Biden administration last week announced new immigration enforcement priorities.
US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said the new Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law aims to “better focus the department’s resources on the apprehension and removal of non-citizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security and advance the interests of justice by ensuring a case-by-case assessment of whether an individual poses a threat.”