The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is praising President Joe Biden’s plan to bring four times as many refugees to the United States this year as former President Trump had planned.
In a statement this week, Grandi applauded Biden’s decision to increase the refugee resettlement cap for Fiscal Year 2021 to 62,500 — a more than 315 percent jump compared to the previously established cap of 15,000 refugees for the fiscal year.
“The whole pace will pick up in a few months,” Grandi told Voice of America in an interview. “In the whole of 2020, we only resettled 34,000 people [globally]. The year before was more than 100,000. The drop was enormous.”
“I don’t know if we’ll be able to get [to 62,500 admissions] that quickly,” Grandi said. “What is important is that there is an intention to get there.”
As of early May, Biden had resettled nearly 1,000 refugees across the U.S.
After the refugee lobby and Democrats denounced Biden’s original plan to keep the Trump-set refugee cap of 15,000 admissions for Fiscal Year 2021, the administration reversed course and announced they would boost the cap to 62,500 admissions.
Now, a group of House Republicans and Democrats want Biden to expand on the soaring refugee resettlement figures by fast-tracking Afghan nationals who worked with the U.S. armed forces into the U.S.
The lobbying effort comes as Department of Justice (DOJ) documents reveal that a similar program, established by former President George W. Bush and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), for Iraqi nationals is plagued with fraud and abuse.
Federal investigators believe some 4,000 Iraqis filed fraudulent refugee applications as they review the cases of about 104,000 Iraqis who sought to enter the U.S. through the Bush-Kennedy “Direct Access” program.
About 500 of those Iraqis have already been resettled in the U.S.
In addition to increasing refugee resettlement, Biden rescinded an order that allowed states and localities to decided whether they wanted refugee resettlement in their communities. The order, signed by Trump, gave Americans veto power over the program that they, for decades, have been shut out of.
Over the last 20 years, nearly one million refugees have been resettled in the country. This is a number more than double that of residents living in Miami, Florida, and would be the equivalent of annually adding the population of Pensacola, Florida, to the country.
Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to research, and each refugee costs taxpayers about $133,000 over the course of their lifetime. Within five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.