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IRAP: President Biden Must do More to Build a Resilient and Robust Refugee Program 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

September 29, 2023


Spencer Tilger |


Recent efforts to rebuild USRAP are promising but fall short of what’s needed to meet 2024 goal

(New York, NY)  – Today, President Biden signed a new Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions (PD) maintaining the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 refugee admissions target of 125,000 refugees for FY 2024. After years of record low admissions, refugee resettlement in FY 2023 doubled to more than 51,000 as of August 31. However, that number remains far below the administration’s annual goal, and more must be done to reach it.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) applauds the progress made to restore the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) through efforts like the Welcome Corps, hiring additional refugee officers, and opening dozens of resettlement agency offices throughout the country. Yet, while some long-delayed cases are finally moving forward, too many refugees remain in limbo, family reunification is stalled, and expanded USRAP access in Latin America has been tied to an illegal and immoral asylum ban. As it looks to expand refugee admissions, the Biden administration should remain steadfast in its obligation to protect refugees from all parts of the globe and its promise to build a resilient and robust USRAP to meet its resettlement goal in FY 2024 and beyond.

IRAP Policy Director, Sunil Varghese, said:

“We have seen welcome improvements and innovations in refugee resettlement over the past year. More refugees are being resettled in the United States, more refugee interviews are taking place, and more refugee resettlement offices have opened throughout the United States. However, conflict and climate change continue to drive record displacement around the world, and case processing for tens of thousands of refugees continues to drag on for years. More must be done to not only restore the United States as a global leader in providing welcome and safety to refugees in need, but also to protect the program from future attacks. IRAP calls on the Biden administration to invest in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to reach its goal of providing permanent refuge to 125,000 people this year and ensure USRAP is resilient for years to come.”

Additional Information

  • Read an op-ed from refugee leader Halima Hamud about the importance of investing in refugee resettlement: HERE
  • Read IRAP’s response to the creation of the Welcome Corps program: HERE
  • Read IRAP’s previous recommendations for rebuilding the refugee program: HERE

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.