President Biden snubbed Ilhan Omar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when he signed an order speeding refugee admissions to America but kept the 15,000 a cap set by the Trump administration. This is a historically low number and Biden had promised to raise the limit substantially.
He also did not raise the ceiling to at least 62,500 as Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), asked him to do.
“Having fought for four years against the Trump Administration’s full-scale assault on refugee resettlement in the United States, we were relieved to see you commit to increasing our refugee resettlement numbers so early in your Administration,” Ilhan Omar wrote to Biden along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
“But until the Emergency Presidential Determination is finalized, our refugee policy remains unacceptably draconian and discriminatory,” they added.
“I can assure anyone who has concerns that the president remains committed to this issue. He is somebody who believes that refugees, that immigrants are the heart and soul of our country, and they have been for decades,” Biden spokesperson jen Psaki said.
“And it certainly is an issue he remains committed to. But I don’t have an update on the timeline of the signing,” she added.
Biden faced swift backlash from Democrats in Congress, who had been publicly calling on him to follow through with his commitment.
“The United States has a proud, bipartisan tradition of providing refugees protection through resettlement,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement. “Failing to issue a new Determination undermines your declared purpose to reverse your predecessor’s refugee policies.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., called Biden’s decision “shameful.”
“As a refugee, I know finding a home is a matter of life or death for children around the world,” she wrote on Twitter.