President Joe Biden promised to take in 100,000 people displaced from Ukraine after the Russian invasion and those who favor high numbers of refugees see it as a promising development that could lead to more overall entries.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden promised to increase the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. annually after President Donald Trump lowered the number based on American-first immigration policies.
But Biden has fallen short of the promise, according to an analysis from the Law360 website:
In his first year in office, the U.S. accepted 11,400 refugees, the fewest since the program began in 1980. The U.S. is now on track to admit 16,000 refugees by the end of this fiscal year, which falls considerably short of the 125,000 refugee admissions goal that Biden set for his second year.
Yael Schacher of Refugees International said that any improvements to the refugee program would be better than none. Even if the U.S. admits only 20,000 Ukrainians through the program, that would more than double the U.S.’ refugee admissions for this year, she said.
“These are the ways we could start rebuilding the Refugee Admissions Program, and Ukrainians can be a part of the puzzle,” Schacher said.
The Law360 article continued:
The White House also revealed that it’s looking into carving out new processes for Ukrainians, but Julia Gelatt of the Migration Policy Institute said the executive branch has relatively little room to get creative under current immigration law. Of the available options, a parole program, which would allow people to temporarily stay and work in the U.S., seems to be the most likely “new pathway,” Gelatt said.
The parole tool is a way to bring people to the U.S. more quickly but it can lead to immigrants being in “legal limbo,” Gelatt said. The refugee program, on the other hand, gives people a way to apply for a green card to stay permanently in the U.S.