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Refugees Under the Biden Administration

The Shocking Number of Refugees Under President Biden

Refugees Under the Biden Administration

The news on refugees keeps coming, and today is no exception. With a humanitarian crisis on our hands, the Biden administration has set a new low on the number of refugees resettled since the admissions program began. 

Along with this, we’ll talk about a new initiative to provide government-funded representation to immigrant children in 8 cities of the U.S. Join me! 



Lately, there has been a lot of news involving refugees, I even made 2 videos talking about the situation with the Afghan refugees and the southern border crisis with the current Haitian immigrants.

If you like to watch those videos, I will leave the link in the comments.

Sadly, this topic is still on the news for the wrong reasons. Now, the Biden administration is under fire because it has the lowest number of refugees resettled in the history of the admissions program.

This is even after the promises made to revitalize a process largely stalled under former President Trump.

Talking about the actual numbers and after the closure of the fiscal year 2021, we can see that the Biden administration resettled 11,411 refugees, according to the State Department.

This number even fails to meet the previous low point of 11,814 refugees set under Trump’s last full fiscal year in office. 


What led to this situation?

Several situations like the Covid pandemic or some missteps made by President Biden led to a record low number of refugees being resettled.

This is alarming especially because it comes from a White House that during the campaign pledged to resettle as many as 125,000 people a year through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

These totals don’t include the recent arrivals of Afghan refugees, who were allowed to enter the country through a different process related to humanitarian parole or Special Immigrant Visa.

When looking at the figures we can see a clear last-minute effort to boost the processing. 

At the end of August, the administration had only resettled 7,637 refugees, meaning that in September alone they processed nearly 3,800 cases, almost half of what they did during the previous 11 months. 

And this has been an issue for President Biden, who has waffled on just how many refugees to let in ever since he entered office.

He even said, back in February, that he would raise the refugee cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year, this being part of the pledge to reach 125,000 within his first year in office. 

But he slow-walked the presidential determination that officially set the new number for the program, forcing refugee resettlement agencies to cancel flights for many people set to be resettled in March.

And when Biden finally signed the determination in April, he backtracked significantly, setting the refugee cap at 15,000, the same all-time low used under Trump, infuriating both advocates and congressional Democrats.

As you can imagine, or remember, this created a lot of backlash for him, forcing the White House to raise this cap to 62,500, a number that you could say was aspirational despite being lower than the 70,000 to 80,000 caps set under prior administrations.

All of this back and forth has left a lot of people frustrated, not only refugees but also organizations and advocates. 


Thoughts of Refugee Organizations 

Refugee advocates are complaining that some of their recommendations are being ignored and this is stalling the progress on this issue.

Recommendations such as: Doing virtual interviews or hiring more people to deal with the current backlog of work in the system. 

They also want the U.S. to expand its referral system beyond the recommendations of those made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), broadening the program to refugees who might otherwise be overlooked. 

When asked about this, the Biden administration just blamed much of that delay on Trump and the previous administration.

Looking a bit on the bright side, President Biden already notified Congress of his recommendation to set the refugee cap at 125,000 for the coming fiscal year, though he has yet to sign the presidential determination making it official.

And you know how that goes, without that signature, everything can change in a second. 

Let’s just hope that they, in fact, make it official, and more importantly, that the goal is achieved.



Moving on with some good news, it was announced that the Biden administration will provide government-funded legal representation to certain unaccompanied immigrant children in deportation proceedings in eight US cities.

This is part of an effort to boost legal access in the immigration court system.

This new effort labeled the Counsel for Children Initiative, comes months after we have seen a rise in the number of children arriving at the southern border. 

This rise in children arriving at the border has increased the crisis, leading to overcrowded detention facilities and a scramble to find appropriate locations to hold them.

If you add the fact that immigrants in deportation proceedings are generally not provided an attorney by the government if they cannot afford one, you can imagine that the situation, especially for children, can be difficult.

This new initiative will provide government-funded legal representation to certain children in 8 cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle, and
  • Portland


As a part of these efforts, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which runs the nation’s immigration courts, is also updating training for attorneys who want to handle immigration cases.

In a statement issued by David Near, the head of the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), he said that these efforts will ensure that noncitizens and their representatives have more resources and can better understand immigration court proceedings, increasing their legal representation before EOIR and increase the trust of the public in the due process Immigration Judges provide.

Research done by the American Immigration Council shows that children with legal representation historically show up to their court hearings.

The group found that in 95% of cases between 2005 and 2016 where a child had an attorney they showed up to their court proceedings, compared to 33% who were not represented. 

A limited number of children receive funded attorneys through a different process than the one created by the Biden administration in recent weeks.

These are strong facts. When thinking about it, a child without a lawyer has a very low chance of showing up in court and winner their asylum case, which we all know, is very complex. 

Having the right legal advice and representation makes all the difference in these cases, as immigrants are FIVE times more likely to WIN if they have an attorney.

There have been other efforts aimed at boosting legal representation for children in court:

In Baltimore, an initiative was created that provided attorneys to children who were under 16, had been released from federal custody and had been issued a notice to appear in deportation proceedings. 

A different initiative was also created to provide attorneys for children in the Southeast. 

Sadly, both programs ended in 2017. This new effort is the latest attempt to improve the legal process for unaccompanied children who arrive at the border.

During the past administration, policies were created that made it harder for children to obtain asylum in the US, including one issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the last days of President Trump.

Trump officials long complained that unaccompanied minors and their families abuse the immigration system through loopholes that allow them to remain in the US after crossing the border to seek asylum. 

Biden officials undid the ICE policy, which made it harder for children to gain asylum, in the first weeks of the administration.

Now, this new initiative is another step in the right direction. Aimed to help immigrant children, one of the most vulnerable groups out there. 

Let’s just hope this expands to more cities and could give them the support they need.


Consulting a New Jersey Immigration Attorney

If you need help with your immigration case, call our New Jersey immigration office. If we can’t help you, we won’t take your money. 

If there’s something you want to know about US immigration, write a comment below and our immigration attorneys will try to answer it on our page or in a future video. 

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