The Trump administration had set the cap on refugee admissions to the U.S. for FY 2021 at 15,000, the lowest cap since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980.
President Biden stated repeatedly while campaigning that he would raise the refugee resettlement cap to 125,000 per year, the highest level since the Clinton administration. Soon after his inauguration, the President said that he would raise the cap for the remainder of the current fiscal year to 62,500 from President Trump’s 15,000.
After delays and some back and forth, Biden appears ready to make good on his promise of resettling 62,500 refugees before September 30, 2021.
This will be welcome news to the refugees who have been extensively vetted and were just waiting for the final nod to travel to the U.S., and also for the communities that will welcome them.
This is also good news for Maine, which received no refugees at all during the first 6 months of the fiscal year . For decades, refugees have been a consistent source of in-migration to Maine, but refugee resettlement in the state dwindled to a trickle during the prior administration, even before the pandemic. The Biden administration’s new number for the rest of FY 2021, coupled with the promised 125,000 refugees in future fiscal years, bodes well for an influx of refugees to Maine to help strengthen our communities and workforce.