Immigration

Biden Called Trump's Refugee Cap 'Cruel and Shortsighted.' He's Keeping It in Place—for Now.

His explanation makes little sense.

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President Joe Biden entered the Oval Office with a lot of promises, but perhaps none were as audacious and expansive as what he said he'd do to overhaul former President Donald Trump's U.S. immigration policy. Core to that: In February, his administration vowed to raise the ceiling more than 300 percent on Trump's historically low refugee cap, upping it from 15,000 to 62,500 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021.

"President Trump's decision to close America's doors to refugees fleeing persecution is cruel and shortsighted," then-candidate Biden said in November 2019. "As president, I will restore America's historic commitment to welcoming those whose lives are threatened by conflict and crisis."

Today he announced that, although he would move to expedite refugee admissions, he will keep Trump's cap as is. His decision leaves thousands of people—who had already been vetted to come to the U.S.—stuck in refugee camps across the globe as they seek protection from persecution and war.

"This phased approach considers the work needed to rebuild our resettlement program and the global challenges for refugee resettlement," a Biden official told Axios, "including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

But it appears COVID-19 is not the primary reason for Biden's pivot. Instead, a senior administration official said that the increase in unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border had put a strain on the refugee branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to The New York Times.

That justification makes some sense. But it's not because of any inability to assist. Though the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has helped the administration with placing some unaccompanied children, that is not the system that broadly processes those migrant minors. Prior to the administration's Friday announcement, sources from inside the administration said Biden had pushed back on fulfilling his promise because he is concerned about the political optics at the U.S.-Mexico border, CNN reported Thursday.

"The refugee program and the unaccompanied child program are separate items in the HHS budget," says David Bier, a research fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. "This is purely about politics."

Such reasoning sheds light on Biden's overall approach to immigration as he has about-faced on a slew of promises since taking office. This week, his administration seized a family's land at the border via eminent domain for the construction of a border wall after specifically campaigning on stopping those very lawsuits. "There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration," he told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro in August 2020. When asked about land confiscations, he responded quickly: "End, end, end, stop, done, over. Not gonna do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We're out."

The administration symbolically rescinded Trump's "zero tolerance" policy of family separations, which hadn't been in practice since the summer of 2018. Tucked into that news cycle was that he instead told the government it can continue separating families with discretion. And though he promised to sunset Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy—the program that forced asylum seekers to wait for their court dates outside of the U.S.—he has instead immediately expelled many would-be asylum claimants without a court date at all.

Speaking of optics, Biden is also defending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from having to provide recompense to immigrants who say they were duped into attending a fake college set up by the agency so that the government could deport them. Though they were charged thousands of dollars in tuition, they were never reimbursed—something Vice President Kamala Harris turned her attention to while she was a candidate on the campaign trail.

"This isn't just cruel, it's a waste of taxpayer dollars," she said in 2019. "Officials must be held accountable for this." Instead, it seems, the Biden-Harris administration is holding immigrants "accountable."

UPDATE: Following a backlash, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday afternoon that there had been "some confusion" on the refugee cap. The administration will announce a "final, increased" maximum on May 15, according to Psaki, though she did not provide any further details.

NEXT: Mom, How Come the Kids in These Old Books Are Allowed Outside Without a Parent or Cell Phone?

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  1. To be fair, once in office every president is the very a-hole he claimed he wouldn’t be on the campaign trail. Trump was bad, but as we see he wasn’t the uniquely bad fascist journalists pretended him to be.

    1. And not a damn one of them learns a damn thing from it. They’ve all got easy, simple answers to solving all our problems until they get into office and then it’s “well nobody told me how difficult it was going to be”. Well, yeah, fuckface, they’re all hard decisions, President’s don’t get to make easy decisions. If they were easy decisions, some second associate deputy assistant flunky would have made the decision, you only get the hard ones.

      Remember Obama saying that he wouldn’t have made the decisions Bush did and Bush telling him “if you only knew what I did” and Obama sneering at him that he did know what Bush did only later having to explain when he had to change his mind that there were things he had learned as President that he didn’t know as a Senator? Or Trump’s famous “Nobody knew healthcare could be this hard”? Did you really think it was going to be that easy? (Of course that’s a rhetorical question, yes, yes, they really do think it’s going to be that easy because they’re all egotistical morons with Messiah complexes who think they’re the smartest person in the world, you kinda gotta be to run for President in the first place.)

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    3. i was never a Trump supporter, but I cannot think of one policy Biden has that is better than Trumps policy. Biden will go down as the worst president in US history.

  2. Biden lies again? What a surprise! It’s almost like he just says random shit that pops into his head and he doesn’t mean a word of it. Kinda like that other guy, Whatshisname.

  3. As long as he doesn’t change the policy, it is still Trump’s fault.

  4. “His decision leaves thousands of people—who had already been vetted to come to the U.S.—stuck in refugee camps across the globe as they seek protection from persecution and war.”

    If you wanted to make a reasonable and libertarian argument against this, you would explain to people why allowing more refugees into the United States is good for the American people and the American economy.

    Incidentally, I’m not here for the benefit of the poor and pathetic, and I don’t appreciate being forced to make sacrifices for my pathetic fellow Americans–much less people in other countries. Take your progressive religious beliefs and shove them up your ass.

    Oh, and I’m here to tell you bringing in refugees, by itself, historically, has been a very good idea–from Jews fleeing persecution in eastern Europe to the Persians who came here fleeing the Iranian revolution and the Vietnamese “boat people” who came to the USA in the wake of Vietnam. And we talked about the economic problems associated with lower population growth? If it weren’t for immigration, our population would be shrinking.

    If your progressive religion has blinded you from even considering the reasons why bringing asylum seekers to the U.S. might be good for the American people and the American economy, then that really is pathetic. Pity is a pathetic way to motivate people, and most Americans love to hear stories about people who came here with nothing but a work ethic.

    1. The argument that we should expand our asylum program because Trump was against is stupid and believing it makes you look stupid.

    2. You know what’s great? Biden keeping all the things that I didn’t like about Trump and expanding on the horrible shit the Democrats have been clamoring for for years.

    3. No, Ken.

      A reasonable libertarian argument begins with individual rights. A collectivist argues for the good of “the people” or “the economy”.

      What religion are you on that has blinded you to that simple fact?

      1. Actually, individual, rational, libertarian Americans are quite right to be concerned with the benefit of policy to Americans because they are Americans.

    4. Oh, and I’m here to tell you bringing in refugees, by itself, historically, has been a very good idea–from Jews fleeing persecution in eastern Europe to the Persians who came here fleeing the Iranian revolution and the Vietnamese “boat people” who came to the USA in the wake of Vietnam.

      to the Somalian children of defeated warlords …

      1. We’ve had a serious issue with the second and third generation emigrants from Somalia going off to join ISIS, that’s a documented fact.

        https://www.npr.org/series/102787287/the-somali-minneapolis-terrorist-axis

        I’m not sure that reflects on all immigrants from everywhere in the world under all circumstances, and there may be other examples where bringing in refugees has been really good for the community and the country.

      2. The chances of people from Hong Kong joining ISIS seem pretty remote.

        1. I took issue with your characterization of refugees generally when you really meant Jews, gold chain Jews, and Vietnamese.

          BTW that was an Ilhan Omar reference.

    5. The public school system (that my property tax dollars pay for) back in day was not quite as Marxist critical race theory, as in 2021. I don’t think the department of education and teachers unions teaching refugees to reject the U.S. constitution, the founding, hard work, success and property ownership is good for the U.S. I don’t want to pay for those grievance re-education camps called public schools and English language immersion.

      You’re in California? They are going after prop 13 and they are around 6-10 years from getting it. When they get free reign on your property taxes you’ll understand.

      1. I won’t get into Medicaid expansions and healthcare.

        1. I don’t see why opposing Medicaid makes it necessary to oppose refugees either. Would you support the expansion of Medicaid if only it weren’t for the refugees? Do you oppose cutting Medicaid if it kicks American citizens off the books? That doesn’t make any sense. I support slashing Medicaid for everybody. There isn’t anything about being a native born American citizen that makes me feel any better about a parasite sucking blood out of my back.

          1. I oppose Medicaid and the ACA. I oppose the department of education and “public” education period. My point…putting thousands, if not millions, of illiterate migrants or refugees into these federal schemes will “Grow” federal government and power and furthering a one party, authoritarian socialist rule.

      2. It’s entirely possible to support bringing in refugees when it’s in our best interests to do so and oppose other policies that aren’t in our best interests at all.

        Supporting bringing in refugees from Hong Kong certainly doesn’t mean we need to support public schools or support repealing Prop 13.

        I’m against public schooling for native born Americans, and I’m opposed to repealing Prop 13 even when we’re not talking about refugees at all.

    6. “If you wanted to make a reasonable and libertarian argument against this, you would explain to people why allowing more refugees into the United States is good for the American people and the American economy.”

      No that would not be the basis of a libertarian argument. It would be the basis of a collectivist nationalist argument.

      “Oh, and I’m here to tell you bringing in refugees, by itself, historically, has been a very good idea–from Jews fleeing persecution in eastern Europe to the Persians who came here fleeing the Iranian revolution and the Vietnamese “boat people” who came to the USA in the wake of Vietnam. And we talked about the economic problems associated with lower population growth? If it weren’t for immigration, our population would be shrinking.”

      All opposed at the time by populist America firsters. MAGA. You cherry pick groups you think have done well. Jews. I object to being used as some kind of poster child as the descendant of “good refugees”.

      “Population growth” so refugees have a function to pump out babies. People do not have natural rights of their own. They exist to serve the “American people”.

      You owe me nothing. I owe you nothing. We have the same rights. Now we begin.

      1. “No that would not be the basis of a libertarian argument. It would be the basis of a collectivist nationalist argument.”

        Calling people names doesn’t change the fact that I’m neither a collectivist nor a nationalist–and calling people names won’t change the fact that as an American, American policy really should benefit me. Because the appropriate word for people who think American policy should primarily benefit people in other countries is “treasonous”, certainly doesn’t make me a nationalist.

        Incidentally, I also think the primary beneficiaries of California’s policies should be Californians. The primary beneficiaries of the policies of Microsoft should be Microsoft’s shareholders. The primary beneficiaries of the Mormon church should be Mormons. Does thinking any of those things make me a nationalist, too? Really, there isn’t anything about rational self-interest that makes anyone a collectivist or a nationalist.

        1. Californians – a state entity defined by geographic borders

          Microsoft shareholders – voluntary investors in a corporate entity

          Mormons – a religion

          Beneficiary – one who derives benefit from something such as a trust or will.

          Natural rights- rights not dependent on the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government. Also known as universal rights.

          I do not care if someone is a Mormon holding shares in Microsoft living in San Diego. Nice stock, nice place to live and your religion is your own choice.

        2. Also please Ken I did not call anyone names. I really try to avoid that. I am framing an argument on a rational basis as I see it. Feel free to disagree. You will not hurt my feelings.

          The basis of what I see in your point is that you are free to act in self interest as you and I are and do everyday. That is a solid moral code.

          Yet another individual who was born elsewhere has less of the same claim in your argument within geographic boundaries defined by the state. These are boundaries you inherited by birth and claim as benefits. There is where we differ.

  5. Sleepy Trump at it again.

  6. Come on OBL, we’re waiting here.

  7. “chuckle chuckle chuckle Biden’s not doing what he said he would”

    fuck you dude go outside and play

  8. Chris Christie got it right: Call POTUS Biden out for being a liar.

  9. Biden is also keeping Trump’s refugee limit where it is after promising to increase them.
    Ironically, he blames Trump saying that he ‘decimated’ the system.

    My guess is they have an eye on the mid-terms.

  10. Binion discovers that Democrats lie and have utilitarian principles. Does not seem to twig that perhaps his narrative is simplistic and perhaps the issues are complicated than his solutions and his solutions are less popular than he would like.

  11. Billy, your mistake is thinking Biden was being truthful when he called the policy “cruel and shortsighted”. It was just more reactionary rhetoric from Biden. So sorry, but you got played.

    1. Shocking that a policy that was in place under Obama would be maintained under Obama’s VP.

  12. Guess what! Biden is a liar and Kamala is a sociopath.

    Stop voting democrat and you stop getting insanity.

  13. I am guessing Biden’s policies have already exceed Trump’s and his own Refugee Cap in his first 100 days. The guy is a total wreck, and it is about to get worse because of his policies in the Middle East, China and Russia, which will bring us to war soon. North Korea will also take advantage of those conflicts. His financial policy of money printing (issuing non-existent monies as electronic credits if you prefer) will also bring this country to destruction.

  14. Septuagenarian, East Coast Democrats that agree on almost everything still need to differentiate their brands. Brand T and brand B steer manure comes from the same steers but nasty statements and mean tweets act as different designs printed on the bags.

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