AOC declares victory after Biden reverses course on refugee cap
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"This is a testament to the power that people’s movements, community advocates, & progressive coalitions have built," the progressive wrote on Twitter.
"Thankful for that and the Biden admin’s decision to respond to organizers today. Now let’s get these families to their new homes here in the United States," she added.
On Friday, the president signed an emergency determination to accelerate refugee admission into the U.S., but he kept the record-low 15,000 refugee cap instated by his predecessor.
Democrats like Ocasio Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota condemned the move, following Biden’s pledged in February to raise the limit to 125,000 people for the next fiscal year.
"Completely and utterly unacceptable," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. "Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise."
The White House originally said the decision not to raise limits on refugees "remains justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest."
But later on Friday, White House said Biden would instead lift the refugee cap by May 15, though as to what the new limit would look like was not specified.
"We’re going to increase the number," the president told reporters Saturday. Biden said the "crisis" at the southern border prevented the adminstration from being able to juggle both immigration issues.
"We couldn’t do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number," he added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden has been consulting with advisors to determine the number of refugees they could realistically permit in the U.S. by Oct, the end of the 2021 fiscal year.
The press secretary said it was "unlikely" the U.S. is able to permit the 62,500 refugees purposed for this year, "Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited."
Biden’s emergency determination removed Trump-era restrictions on refugees arriving from Somalia, Yemen and Syria, and expanded slots awarded to refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central America.
The Associated Press and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.