President Biden found out on Friday that any numerical cap on refugees is apparently “xenophobic and racist” to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Ilhan Omar.
The New York and Minnesota Democrats respectively blasted Mr. Biden for keeping former President Trump’s 15,000 cap in place, albeit while speeding up the administrative process and signaling plans at a future expansion.
Mr. Biden‘s administration has cited the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive influx of migrants at the U.S. Southern border with Mexico as partial justifications for its decision.
“Completely and utterly unacceptable,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise. Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong. Keep your promise.”
Ms. Omar was similarly irate with the president.
“As a refugee, I know finding a home is a matter of life or death for children around the world,” she tweeted. “It is shameful that @POTUS is reneging on a key promise to welcome refugees, moments after @RepSchakowsky @RepJayapal, myself and others called on him to increase the refugee cap.”
Not mentioned by either woman was Mr. Biden‘s decision to allow 7,000 slots for African refugees, 3,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 1,000 catch-all slots for flexibility, along with others for East Asia, Central Asian, South Asia, and Europe.
The White House announced later Friday that Mr. Biden will reveal a new, increased refugee cap by May 15 for the rest of this fiscal year.
“Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely,” said press secretary Jen Psaki.