Stakeholders welcome Biden’s refugee cap expansion, but say more needs to be done


Afghan refugees line up for food in a dining hall at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where they are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. The Biden administration provided the first public look inside the U.S. military base where Afghans airlifted out of Afghanistan are screened, amid questions about how the government is caring for the refugees and vetting them. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The U.S. government will soon raise its refugee admissions cap to 125,000 under orders from President Joe Biden.

On Monday, the Biden administration submitted a report to Congress that affirms “a robust refugee admissions program is critical to U.S. foreign policy interests and national security objectives.”

“Refugee resettlement is among the most visible manifestations of a values-based foreign policy, demonstrating American humanitarian leadership,” the report reads.

“It is also a concrete reflection of the United States’ commitment to human rights, including freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression, and is necessary to mobilize other countries to meet their own humanitarian rights,” the report continues.

The report comes as Texas continues to receive, process, and care for refugees. In El Paso, there are Afghan, Central American, and Haitian migrants being cared for.

KTSM 9 News reached out to state and national stakeholders on what upping the refugee cap will mean for the future of immigration in Texas.

“Joe Biden’s silence on the border crisis is deafening and his lack of action has proven that he is incapable of leading. For months Biden has abandoned Texans and shown that he does not care if Texans are left to deal with the consequences of his failed policies,” Macarena Martinez, RNC spokeswoman, tells KTSM.

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) is a national organization that works to support and resettle refugees as they arrive in the U.S.

The organization works closely with military installations, like Fort Bliss, which is currently housing Afghan evacuees.

LIRS leaders say the organization is heartened by the refugee cap expansion announcement but hopes more actions are taken, like resuscitating government entities that were dismantled under the previous administration. 

“Words must be accompanied by action,” says Krish Vignarajah, president and CEO of LIRS. 

“We need to see the administration take further action to rebuild the decimated resettlement infrastructure to invest in restaffing United States Citizenship and Immigration Services,” she adds. 

For more information on refugees in El Paso, click here; for our complete coverage on immigration, click here.

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