Emily McFarlan-Miller and Jack Jenkins – Religious News Service Nov 12, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden announced he will raise the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 125,000 in his first year in office, a major reversal from President Donald Trump’s steep cuts to the U.S. refugee program.
It’s not the first time Biden has made that pledge. He previously floated the number in a statement he made during the summer on World Refugee Day.
But it is the first time he has confirmed that number as president-elect.
And, notably, he made the announcement Thursday (Nov. 12) to a Catholic group that works with refugees.
“The United States has long stood as a beacon of hope for the downtrodden and the oppressed, a leader of resettling refugees in our humanitarian response,” Biden said in a prerecorded video set to air during the virtual event celebrating the 40th anniversary of Jesuit Refugee Service.
“I promise, as president, I will reclaim that proud legacy for our country. The Biden-Harris administration will restore America’s historic role in protecting the vulnerable and defending the rights of refugees everywhere and raising our annual refugee admission target to 125,000.”
In the brief video, shared beforehand with Religion News Service, Biden praised Jesuit Refugee Service as a “great organization” and framed the country’s historic commitment to refugee resettlement in theological terms.
“This organization was founded to serve the needs of some of the most vulnerable among us: refugees and displaced people. JRS believes that, in the stranger, we actually meet our neighbor. And that every society is ultimately judged by how we treat those most in need,” he said.