President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he plans to raise the annual refugee admissions ceiling to 125,000 in the 12-month period beginning October 1, up from the 15,000 cap proposed by the previous administration.
The president accused his predecessor of damaging the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program by lowering the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States, adding that restoring the program will take time.
“It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do,” he declared during a speech Thursday at the U.S. State Department, adding:
Today, I’m approving an executive order to begin the hard work of restoring our refugee admissions program to help meet the unprecedented global need. … This executive order will position us to be able to raise the refugee admissions back up to 125,000 persons for the first full fiscal year  of the Biden-Harris administration.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 will run from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.
Biden indicated that his administration will push to raise the refugee admissions cap this year above 15,000.
He directed the U.S. State Department, which handles the refugee program, to work with Congress on “making a down payment” on raising the admissions cap “as soon as possible.”
That means the Biden administration could welcome more refugees amid the pandemic ravaging American communities and damaging the country’s economy, potentially flooding the already struggling labor market with more low skilled workers.