(CNN) — The Joe Biden administration plans to announce Thursday that it will increase the number of refugees who can reach the United States, a step toward increasing refugee admissions after years of historic casualties under President Donald Trump, according to two sources familiar with the plan.
President Biden, who pledged to raise the cap during the campaign, is expected to announce his intention to increase the number of refugees allowed into the US during a visit to the State Department, according to a source. The Trump administration set a refugee limit of 15,000 for this fiscal year, the lowest since 1980. It is unclear how much the Biden administration will raise that limit.
The president must approve the refugee limit. Biden has committed to setting an annual admission limit of 125,000, although the plan is to wait until October, when the next fiscal year begins, to set that limit, according to one of the sources.
The increase in the refugee limit is based on a series of Biden decrees aimed at setting a new course for US immigration policy after the Trump administration’s hardline approach.
Biden immigration decrees
On Tuesday, the president signed three decrees that largely mandate a review of Trump-era policies, including the establishment of a task force designed to reunite separated families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I am not making a new law, I am eliminating bad policies,” Biden said at the White House, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris. “It’s about how America is safer, stronger and more prosperous if we have a fair, orderly and humane legal immigration system.”
Before taking office, increasing refugee admissions had been a key point between Biden’s transition team and the Department of Homeland Security, which plays a role in the process, a source familiar with the discussions told CNN.
Limit on number of refugees
Each year, the administration sets a limit on the number of refugees that can be admitted to the United States. Historically, the number of admissions has fluctuated based on world events, although it has generally been high.
From fiscal years 1990 to 1995, for example, many refugees who came to the United States were from the former Soviet Union, according to the Pew Research Center.
And in the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the administration raised the refugee ceiling from 85,000 in fiscal 2016 to 110,000 in fiscal 2017 amid the Syrian crisis.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism