Durbin Statement On Biden Administration Refugee Admissions Goal For Fiscal Year 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after the Biden Administration announced its Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 refugee admissions target of 125,000.  In April, Durbin led 33 of his Senate colleagues in a letter to President Biden urging him to set a target of at least 125,000 refugee admissions in FY 2022 and to set the refugee admissions target at 62,500 for this fiscal year.  The Administration has projected admission of only 12,500 refugees this fiscal year.

“I applaud the Biden Administration for setting a target of 125,000 refugee admissions in the next fiscal year—a target my colleagues and I have been advocating for since April.

“And while I’m disappointed in the projected number of refugees to be admitted this fiscal year, I acknowledge the challenges the Biden Administration inherited with the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program due to the anti-immigrant actions of the previous Administration. 

“Facing the greatest refugee crisis in our time, I know the Biden Administration is working to restore the United States’ longstanding bipartisan tradition of providing safety to the world’s most vulnerable refugees—including Afghan refugees.”

Since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States resettled an average of more than 80,000 refugees per year.  However, the Trump Administration set the annual refugee admissions target at disgracefully low numbers for four years in a row.  Last fiscal year, the Trump Administration set a target of only 18,000 refugees and just 11,814 refugees were admitted.  

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were more than 80 million people forcibly displaced worldwide in 2020, a record high.  Among this displaced population are 26 million refugees – the highest number in history – more than forty percent of whom are children.  UNHCR estimates that 1.4 million refugees are in urgent need of resettlement.