President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order increasing the number of refugees allowed into the United States by tens of thousands.
The U.S. cap on refugees must be approved by the president, and former President Donald Trump had kept the cap relatively low, ending with a top level of 15,000 refugees in 2021. During the campaign, Biden pledged to raise the cap to 125,000.
The president intends to sign an executive order as soon as Friday as part of his administration’s push to increase the number of refugees allowed into the U.S., according to CNN. It is unclear when Biden hopes to work up to the 125,000-refugee limit. Biden has signaled to migrants south of the U.S. in countries such as Honduras that his administration intends to relax immigration laws.
In mid-January before Biden was inaugurated, his transition team attempted to send a message to a flood of migrants traveling north through central America in anticipation of Biden loosening immigration laws on the U.S. southern border: “There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey.” As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
The transition team for President-elect Joe Biden is warning thousands of Honduran immigrants flocking to the U.S. border seeking entry that they may end up waiting in Mexico for a while before their asylum claims can be processed.
An official with the transition team told NBC News that the incoming administration was going to prioritize immigrants that have already filed claims and who are currently staying just across the border in Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP). The MPP requires that those seeking asylum must stay in northern Mexico while their claims are processed in the U.S.
“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the anonymous Biden team official told NBC News. “There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey.”
“We have to provide a message that help and hope is on the way, but coming right now does not make sense for their own safety … while we put into place processes that they may be able to access in the future,” the official said.
On top of Biden’s plan to increase refugees into the U.S., his administration is also pushing to grant citizenship to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. His plan has received stiff resistance in Congress from some Democrats whose votes are necessary because of the Democratic Party’s slim margins of control in the House and Senate.
Last week, the Biden administration issued an order freezing deportations of illegal immigrants in the U.S. A federal judge in Texas blocked the order on Tuesday over procedural violations.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the federal government over Biden’s order, arguing that the deportation freeze violated an agreement between the federal government and Texas and that the order itself would harm the state.
“In one of its first of dozens of steps that harm Texas and the nation as a whole, the Biden administration directed DHS to violate federal immigration law and breach an agreement to consult and cooperate with Texas on that law. Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation. Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel,” Paxton said in a statement. “DHS itself has previously acknowledged that such a freeze on deportations will cause concrete injuries to Texas. I am confident that these unlawful and perilous actions cannot stand. The rule of law and security of our citizens must prevail.”