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Reacting To Furious Leftist Backlash, Psaki Blames Reaction To Biden’s Refugee Policy On ‘Confusion’
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki talks to reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Psaki fielded questions about President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and other topics.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Friday, President Joe Biden was slammed by critics after he decided not to raise Trump’s “historically low cap” of 15,000 refugees for this year.

Despite promising in early February to “bolster US refugee admissions after four years of deep cuts” by raising “the annual admissions cap to 125,000 people,” the focus of Biden’s policy now rests on the definition of refugee status, with The Associated Press reporting, “A senior administration official said Biden’s new allocations could result in speedier admissions of already screened and vetted refugees in a manner of days. The new allocations provide more slots for refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central America and lift Trump’s restrictions on resettlements from Somalia, Syria and Yemen.”

Critics were quick to point out that Biden’s policy is a failure to deliver on one of his campaign promises regarding the expansion of refugee admissions.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) described the policy as “Completely and utterly unacceptable.”

“Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong.”

“Keep your promise,” she added.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said, “There are simply no excuses for today’s disgraceful decision.”

“It goes directly against our values and risks the lives of little boys and girls huddled in refugee camps around the world,” Omar continued, adding, “I know, because I was one.”

Omar then shared a video of Biden’s prior call to admit additional refugees, saying that “This was the Joe Biden people campaigned and voted for.”

Axios’ Jonathan Swan tweeted, “Biden keeps the Trump / Stephen Miller refugee cap. Genuinely curious to hear Biden allies explain how what was ‘racist’ and ‘cruel’ under Trump is now enlightened and humane.”

The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer tweeted, “Biden maintaining Stephen Miller’s refugee policy is not something anyone should defend. It’s a disgrace.”

Ezra Klein shared an excerpt from Serwer’s piece, describing it’s content as “righteous anger.”

PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor tweeted, “Confirmed from a WH official on refugee cap: President Biden will keep the refugee cap number at 15,000. He is going to be changing the regional allocation of those refugees.”

“Note: This is Biden is [sic] walking back an earlier pledge to welcome more than 60,000 refugees into the U.S.,” she added.

The blowback from critics was so severe that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki immediately walked back Biden’s announcement, saying that Biden would be setting a “final, increased refugee cap” by May 15.

NPR reported, “The White House is walking back its announcement that it will keep the Trump-era refugee cap of 15,000,” adding that “White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden would ‘set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.’”

“While finalizing that determination, the president was urged to take immediate action to reverse the Trump policy that banned refugees from many key regions, to enable flights from those regions to begin within days; today’s order did that. With that done, we expect the president to set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, claiming that “The President’s directive today has been the subject of some confusion.”

Psaki’s latest reversal adds another layer to the ongoing migrant crisis, with CNN estimating that the U.S. is on track to encounter a “record 2 million migrants on the southern border” by the end of the fiscal year.

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