May 3, 2021 IN: Immigration, National, Press Room
SEARAC Responds to Biden’s First 100 Days, Increase of Refugee Cap
WASHINGTON, DC — Last week, President Biden addressed his fellow lawmakers and the people of the United States in his first speech before Congress since becoming president. In his remarks, President Biden addressed his proposals for reinvigorating the economy and helping Americans recover after the COVID-19 global pandemic. He also spoke about the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, and also touched on the topics of immigration, police reform, gun control, and voting rights. The President also announced today that he will be increasing the refugee cap for this year to 62,500, a significant increase from the previous year’s cap of 15,000.
Below, SEARAC executive director, Quyen Dinh, responds to the address and refugee cap announcement:
“The President’s first 100 days have shown us an American government that is more responsive to our communities and that is working to improve equity for our communities, demonstrated through the American Rescue Plan, and we similarly welcome both his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. We appreciate the inclusion of funding for the caregiving economy in his infrastructure package and support debt-free community colleges in his families plan. However, we believe that the President and his Administration can and should do more to help Southeast Asian American communities. Tempered steps do not help our communities or help the students who continue to struggle with financial access to higher education. The President must take bolder action and eliminate debt for both two- and four-year public colleges by incorporating the Debt-Free College Act into the base version of the American Families Plan.
Additionally, though it was delayed, we are heartened to hear that President Biden kept his campaign promise and raised the refugee admissions ceiling. As the largest refugee community ever resettled at once in the United States, Southeast Asian Americans understand how necessary it is for us to maintain our commitment to those seeking safety and refuge from persecution and fear in their home countries. However, support for refugees and ending violence against Asian Americans also means preventing the deportations of Southeast Asian refugees. In his first 100 days, the President has yet to establish policies that would end the deportations of our community members or lift the visa sanctions on Cambodia and Laos that continue to pressure those countries to repatriate our people.
Although we believe that the President is taking steps to move our country in the right direction, we urge him and his Administration to be bold and take decisive action to support our communities and end the harm that continues to be inflicted on Southeast Asian refugees. We look forward to working with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and our elected officials to make this country better for all communities, including the Southeast Asian American community.”
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
Elaine Sanchez Wilson