Under President Barack Obama, the number of refugees allowed in the United States rose dramatically. If this had continued as he planned, he would have gone up to 110,000 refugees for 2016 alone.
However, when President Donald Trump took office, he quickly began reducing those numbers. He continued to do it through all four years that he was in office, bottoming out at 15,000 refugees. While the program wasn’t disbanded entirely, it dropped to the lowest it has ever been under current laws.
Now that Joe Biden has been elected and will be the next president, though, he says that he’s going to reverse that course. He was, after all, the vice president under the Obama administration. Biden claims that his goal is to allow up to 125,000 refugees.
Exactly how soon this could happen is unclear. He may raise it slowly over time, and the current travel restrictions may make it harder for refugees to actually come to the U.S. But the president does have the power to set the refugee totals every year, so he will be able to make these changes if he is indeed interested in doing so. Judging from his past history and the trajectory things were at back in 2016, that’s most likely exactly what is going to happen.
As things change for refugees in the United States, everyone involved in the program needs to make sure they know what legal steps to take and exactly how any changes to the laws and regulations could impact them.