Biden Raises the Refugee Cap to 62,500 in Response to Pressure, Signaling a Dramatic Improvement in the United States’ Refugee Policy

taher kameli
By Taher Kameli and Chathan Vemuri


The Biden administration challenged a core controversial feature of the Trump administration’s immigration policy this Monday when President Biden announced that it was abandoning the noticeably low Trump refugee cap.[1] Instead, President Biden has announced that the refugee cap would be raised to 62,500 people for this fiscal year.[2] This was done in response to pressure challenging the President for initially sticking by the Trump-era policy.[3] President Biden also announced that he would set a goal of 125,000 refugee admissions for the next fiscal year.[4] He justified both as being in line with his foreign policy goal of demonstrating American values “as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.”[5] Yet despite that, President Biden does not feel his government will be able to resettle those refugees due to budget and staffing cuts suffered by agencies such as USCIS (which was preparing to see a 70% drop in the workforce[6]) during the Trump Administration.[7]


The new policy change is part of another welcome change to the divisive policies of the Trump administration which were rabidly hostile to immigration, particularly of refugees who were repeatedly demonized and treated as a threat, whether as migrants or even as sitting members of Congress.[8] By raising the refugee cap, the Biden administration has signaled a revamp in American immigration policy that promised to be more humane, accepting of others in need, and in keeping with its own aspirations in being open to immigrants. It also signals good news to refugees themselves as now they can look forward to finding it easier to get into the US and possibly reunite with families as well as get away from debilitating conditions outside of the U.S. Even though there are limitations to how much the US government can do for these refugees, as noted above, this is still a welcome start and the beginning of a more humane refugee policy in stark departure from the exclusive one promoted by the Trump administration.



            Please contact the Kameli Law at or please give us a call at 312-233-1000 if you have any further questions about Biden’s refugee cap, and how it may help you or your family.






















[1] [1] Alvarez, Priscilla and Vazquez, Maegan, Biden Raises Refugee Cap to 62,500 After Blowback, CNN (May 3, 2021, upd at 10:29 PM ET) available at


[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Dwyer, Mimi and Rosenberg, Mica, US Agency Prepares for Massive Staff Cuts in Blow to Legal Immigration System, Reuters (Jun 24, 2020, 1:43 PM) available at

[7] Shear, Michael D., Biden, in Reversal, Raises the Refugee Admission Cap to 62,500 in the Next Six Months, N Y Times (May 3, 2021) available at

[8] Kanno-Youngs, Zolan, and Shear, Michael D. Trump Virtually Cuts Off Refugees as He Unleashes a Tirade on Immigrants, N.Y. Times (Oct. 1, 2020) available at




Request Consultation