ACLU Statement on Biden Administration’s Decision to Keep Refugee Admission Limits at Historic Low

April 16, 2021 4:00 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union released the following statement today about President Biden’s decision to keep refugee admissions for 2021 at the historic low set by the Trump administration, with a ceiling of 15,000 refugees fleeing violence and persecution into the United States.

Manar Waheed, senior legislative and advocacy counsel for the ACLU, said:

“President Biden’s decision to extend the Trump administration’s historically low limit on refugee admissions has devastating consequences for people around the globe. While our refugee system was eviscerated by Trump, President Biden has a responsibility to rebuild this system fairly, effectively, and efficiently so that people are not further harmed. Candidate Biden promised humanity and relief for refugees fleeing persecution, but President Biden has failed to deliver on that promise. We know that this system cannot be rebuilt over night, but today’s order reflects abysmally low numbers that will exacerbate suffering all over the world. Today’s news is a devastating blow to Black and Brown immigrants who are fleeing persecution and seeking refuge — and have been for years — only to see their hopes destroyed by an administration that promised to do better.”

In response to reports that the Biden administration was walking back its announcement on refugee admissions, Waheed added:

“The White House has rolled back its earlier statements and now says a ‘final, increased refugee cap’ for this fiscal year will be determined by May 15. As a candidate, Biden promised humanity and relief for refugees fleeing persecution. We will be watching to see if President Biden fulfills his promises.”

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Immigrants' Rights

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Immigrants' Rights

Immigration Rights issue image

The fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every person, regardless of immigration status.