CV NEWS FEED // President Biden reneged on a key campaign promise to do away with President Donald Trump’s 15,000 annual cap on refugee resettlements Friday. Then after intense blowback, the White House announced it would lift the cap next month after all.
The White House initially issued a 2021 refugee cap of 15,000 Friday morning. The news came as a shock to many, as one of Biden’s key campaign promises before the 2020 election was to eliminate that limit, which was set by the Trump administration.
The cap on refugee resettlements is seen by many on the political right as a reasonable compromise, with nothing innately unethical about it in the first place. In light of Biden’s rhetoric portraying this and other Trump policies as immoral, however, conservatives pointed to the hypocrisy of Biden’s plans to maintain the limit.
“What, from a moral standpoint, is more egregious,” asked CatholicVote on social media Friday, “discouraging people from trying to enter the country illegally and then turning them away as promised … or actively encouraging them to abandon their homes and travel thousands of miles — and then turning them away?”
Last year, Biden first promised he would increase the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. from 15,000 to 125,000. In February, soon after his inauguration, he halved that number, promising at least to allow over 60,000 refugees during 2021.
Friday’s initial announcement of yet another reduction of the number — this time to precisely the same number which Trump had set and which Biden had campaigned against — was too much for many Biden supporters.
Among those most offended by the news were Biden-supporting Catholics.
“Biden will not raise Trump cap on refugee admissions,” tweeted the Jesuit-run America Magazine, accusing Biden of “breaking” a “pledge.”
“This is especially disappointing for Catholic advocates because President Biden made his earlier promise at a Jesuit Refugee Service/USA event,” tweeted John Gehring of the left-wing National Catholic Reporter.
“This is a breathtaking betrayal of the plan to ‘build back better,’” said Matthew Soerens of the faith-based refugee resettlement group World Relief.
“As a Christian, I’m reminded I should never have, as the psalmist said, put my ‘trust in princes,’” Soerens added, “but if I’m honest, I fully trusted President Biden’s commitment to rebuild the refugee resettlement program: he literally wrote a foreword to a book by a Catholic priest on refugees.”
Along with many others, Soerens pursued the issue heatedly throughout the day. By evening, he was able to tweet a measured declaration of victory, with the Biden administration backing down in response to the pressure.