New York, NY, March 1, 2021 – The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) calls on President Biden to immediately sign the Proposed Emergency Presidential Determination (PD) and allow for additional refugees to be admitted this Fiscal Year.
The Biden Administration recently submitted the Report to Congress on the Proposed Emergency Presidential Determination, which emphasized the urgent need for increased refugee admissions mid-year and included additional priority groups to address the needs of refugees in particularly affected regions, such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Burma. IRAP welcomes this proposal as an important step in ensuring the resettlement infrastructure can be rebuilt to address current and emerging humanitarian crises around the world.
As of today, however, the PD has not been signed and refugee admissions are still bound by the PD signed by former President Trump, which lowers the refugee admissions goal to an unprecedented 15,000. Worse still, the current PD limits the resettlement of Muslim refugees from Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere. Due to the delay, many refugees who already had their travel booked in anticipation of the new PD have seen their flights canceled.
“Through travel bans, ‘extreme vetting’ procedures, and other measures, the previous administration did everything in its power to stop refugees, and in particular refugees from Muslim-majority countries, from reaching safety in the United States. The Presidential Determination issued under Trump—under which the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program remains bound to operate—is just an extension of his discriminatory Muslim ban policies,” said Justin Cox, IRAP’s Senior Litigation Attorney. “Every day the Biden Administration lets this directive stand, it perpetuates the harm caused by former President Trump’s unlawful purpose of excluding Muslims. With the stroke of a pen, President Biden could immediately remedy some of the devastating effects the previous administration has had and help Muslim and other refugee families in need of protection.” IRAP calls on President Biden to sign the emergency PD as soon as possible, so that vulnerable families who have been stuck in limbo for years can finally travel to safety.
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders. RAP believes that everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there. www.refugeerights.org