Oxfam America, a nonprofit organization, said in a statement: “We are relieved that the Biden administration has, after a long and unnecessary delay, kept its promise to raise the refugee admissions cap for this year to 62,500.”
The back-and-forth about the refugee program is the latest turn in the president’s struggle to deal with the immigration system.
On his first day in office, Mr. Biden proposed a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws and issued a number of executive orders aimed at rolling back Mr. Trump’s policies. But after about 100 days, immigration legislation still has not advanced in Congress. And for weeks, Mr. Biden delayed raising refugee admissions, despite a plea from his own secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, to make good on his commitment.
The administration has also had to defend its response to a surge of migrants at the border with Mexico, even as Mr. Biden has continued to rely on a Trump-era health rule to rapidly turn away many migrants from entering the United States without providing them a chance to apply for asylum. The administration has said the rule is necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The president’s Republican critics have seized on the issue as a political weapon, accusing Mr. Biden of making poor policy choices that opened the floodgates to illegal immigration during a pandemic.
The administration, however, has made progress in safely processing migrant children and teenagers out of border detention facilities and into temporary shelters. While more than 5,000 minors were stuck in facilities run by the Border Patrol in March, on Monday, the administration recorded roughly 600 minors in such jail-like facilities.
White House officials have urged migrants not to come to the United States now, but have promised that Mr. Biden will work to increase legal opportunities to live, work and visit the United States. Eleanor Acer, the director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said the president must continue to do that.