Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Friday slammed President Joe Biden over his administration’s decision to maintain a limit on refugee admissions at a level instituted by the Trump administration.
NBC News reports:
Biden will not increase the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. this year, according to a senior administration official, breaking a prior promise to raise the cap from the historically-low level set by the Trump administration.
Biden notified Congress in February that he would increase the number of refugees allowed to enter the country from 15,000 to 62,500 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, upping it to 125,000 for the following year. But he never signed the presidential determination that would actually raise the cap, effectively keeping the cap at Trump-era levels. Such paperwork is usually signed shortly after a policy announcement.
Biden’s broken promise prompted Ocasio-Cortez to lash out at his administration, accusing it of bigotry.
“Completely and utterly unacceptable. Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise,” the New York Democrat wrote on Twitter. “Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong.”
“Keep your promise,” she added.
Completely and utterly unacceptable. Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise.
Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong.
Keep your promise. https://t.co/A82xYf1XpR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 16, 2021
Leading up to the backtrack, White House press secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly resisted providing a firm date on when Biden would follow through on his promise to increase the refugee admissions cap.
“I can assure anyone who has concerns that the president remains committed to this issue. He is somebody who believes that refugees, that immigrants are the heart and soul of our country, and they have been for decades,” Psaki told reporters Thursday.
“And it certainly is an issue he remains committed to,” the White House official continued. “I don’t have an update on the timeline of the signing.”
Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only progressive lawmaker denouncing Biden’s decision. Rep. Ilhan Omar condemned the move, calling it “shameful.”
“As a refugee, I know finding a home is a matter of life or death for children around the world. It is shameful that @POTUS is reneging on a key promise to welcome refugees, moments after @RepSchakowsky @RepJayapal, myself, and others called on him to increase the refugee cap,” Omar said.
As a refugee, I know finding a home is a matter of life or death for children around the world.
It is shameful that @POTUS is reneging on a key promise to welcome refugees, moments after @RepSchakowsky @RepJayapal, myself and others called on him to increase the refugee cap. pic.twitter.com/eaxjHCUhrI
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) April 16, 2021
Biden’s decision to keep the refugee admissions cap as is underscores his administration’s ongoing struggle to curb the influx of migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. To date, roughly 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children nationwide remain in U.S. custody, draining already stretched resources of the U.S. Border Patrol. To accommodate the latest surge, 13 additional detention facilities have been built by Health and Human Services since March 1.
In recent weeks, Republican lawmakers have made multiple visits to the southern border in an attempt to shine a light on the growing crisis.
In an interview with SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said migrants seeking entry to the U.S. are harmed and killed by Biden’s “false promises” of a path to citizenship.
“I’m tired of the radical left — of Democrats, including those in the White House, right now — walking around patting themselves on the back for how compassionate they are when, in fact, they are endangering the lives of the immigrants who they are enticing to come here through their false promises,” Roy stated.
“[Democrats] get out there and say all this stuff about amnesty. They encourage people to come here. … It’s irresponsible, and today, while you and I are speaking, some little girl is getting abused by a cartel or by some other illicit actor in Mexico because their parents decided to send them up here in a risky journey and they rode on top of a train,” the Texas Republican continued.
“These are human beings damn it,” he added. “These are people that are being used as political pawns by Democrats because they callously want political power and they sell something as false. They sell something that is untrue, and it hurts people and it hurts American citizens, and it hurts to immigrants who come here.”