April 15, 2021
Keep your promise and sign the Presidential Determination immediately
Washington, D.C. – The Biden Administration must act for refugees now. Each fiscal year, the president must set a cap on the number of refugees that the United States will admit from war torn nations as designated by the United Nations. In February, President Biden issued a proposal to increase this year’s number, or Presidential Determination (PD) to 62,500. However, he has left the proposal unsigned, and has left thousands in limbo. The Franciscan Action Network (FAN) calls on President Biden to uphold his pledge and sign the PD immediately, and welcome these fully vetted refugees who are escaping war and persecution but are rapidly losing hope because of multiple delays.
Until President Biden formally signs his previously issued proposal, the Trump era refugee policy remains in place and will continue to strand tens of thousands of refugees in life-threatening situations, prolonging separation from loved ones already in the United States. At this point, tens of thousands of people who have already completed the complex process for resettling in the U.S. have been stranded abroad, often in overcrowded refugee camps where many have been waiting for years.
“While FAN is grateful for other important steps the Biden Administration has taken for social justice,” says Sister Marie Lucey, OSF, Associate Director, “we are very disappointed in assurances made but not kept. One of these is President Biden’s promise to increase the PD in 2021, but only a few months remain in this fiscal year and 125,000 refugees wait in line while only a very few have arrived in the U.S.”
Pope Francis has stated, “It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help.” Franciscans believe in the sacred dignity of all persons and work consistently for legislation that provides safety and security for all people seeking to live in the United States.
FAN urges President Biden and his administration to take the appropriate much needed action to revise the annual refugee admissions goal and remove the problematic categories which exclude those who were already promised refuge. We must always remember that we are a nation of immigrants with a long and proud history of welcoming and sheltering refugees.