Under the Trump administration, refugee admissions to the United States has reached an all-time low.
President-elect Joe Biden, however, has said he plans to reverse many of President Donald Trump’s policies, including raising the cap on refugee resettlement.
Last month, The Trump administration announced no more than 15,000 refugees would be allowed in the country during the 2021 fiscal year. Biden has said he would raise that cap to 125,000 refugees.
Immigration policy experts with the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, said recently that a Biden administration has the opportunity to revamp U.S. immigration policies, including the refugee resettlement program.
For example, the program could include more refugees from certain countries.
“A new administration would send very important signals to the world, to the country and would possibly have the ability then to allocate significantly larger numbers of refugee admissions to the Western Hemisphere, particularly to Central American countries,” said Doris Meissner, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute.
Doing so could help reduce the number of people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border and setting out on long and dangerous journeys.
“One of the things we’ll be looking for from the Biden administration is its intention to establish refugee processing closer to the places from which people are fleeing,” Meissner said.
One of the challenges facing the U.S. refugee admissions program is that a number of resettlement agencies have been affected by budget cuts.
Meissner said that means those networks would have to be rebuilt and that could take some time.
You can read more about what immigration could look like under a Biden administration in this policy brief from the Migration Policy Institute.