U.S. to raise refugee cap to 125,000 in 2022

The U.S. government will aim to resettle up to 125,000 refugees in the next 12 months, cementing President Biden’s campaign promise to reverse the historic cuts made to the refugee program during the Trump administration, according to a proposal submitted to Congress on Monday.

The 125,000-spot refugee cap for fiscal year 2022, which starts in October, will mark a 733% increase from the historic low 15,000-person ceiling former President Donald Trump set before leaving office .

While it is the highest U.S. refugee ceiling since the early 1990s, the fiscal year 2022 cap, like its previous iterations, will be a target that does not require the government to resettle a precise number of people fleeing war and persecution across the globe.

The current fiscal year 2021 refugee cap, which the Biden administration was forced to raise to 62,500 spots this spring after backlash from progressive allies, will not be met, as just 7,637 refugees have been admitted into the U.S. so far in the past 11 months. That figure does not include the tens of thousands of Afghans admitted into the country in recent weeks.

According to its 44-page notification to Congress , the Biden administration plans to distribute 40,000 refugee spots for Africa, 35,000 for the Near East and South Asia, 15,000 for East Asia, 15,000 for Latin America and the Caribbean, 10,000 for Europe and Central Asia and 10,000 unallocated spots.

During fiscal year 2022, the U.S. will give "particular focus" to resettling Central Americans fleeing violence, LGBTQ refugees, Afghans who worked for U.S.-based organizations, at-risk Uyghurs, Hong Kong dissidents and refugees from Burma, including members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, according to the notification.

The administration said it would also unveil a private sponsorship program during the coming fiscal year that will allow non-governmental groups and individuals in the U.S. to finance the resettlement of refugees. The initiative is likely to mirror a program in Canada that has broad support there.

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