UN welcomes Biden decision to admit more refugees as ‘lifeline’

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US President Joe Biden steps off Marine One upon returning to the White House after a day in Virginia on May 3, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
GENEVA — The UN refugee agency on Tuesday welcomed a decision by US President Joe Biden to admit up to 62,500 refugees this year, saying it hoped this would inspire other countries to resettle more people fleeing war or persecution.اضافة اعلان

Biden said on Monday he had resurrected a plan to raise refugee admissions this year to 62,500 after drawing a wave of criticism from supporters for initially keeping the refugee cap at a historically low level of 15,000, set by his predecessor Donald Trump, an immigration hawk.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi praised Biden’s decision as “a move to restore the US leadership on refugee resettlement” that would also save lives.

It came as global resettlement of refugees has plummeted to unprecedented levels after states imposed low quotas and departures and processing were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grandi said.

Barely 1.6 percent of 1.44 million people with refugee status who were prioritized for resettlement in another country of asylum last year found new homelands through the UNHCR, or 22,770 — the lowest number in nearly two decades.

“The US commitments to increase admissions for this year and the next are therefore a lifeline for refugees and for our global resettlement program,” Grandi said. 

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