The White House on Friday said that President Biden is expected to increase the refugee cap for this fiscal year, just hours after he signed an order that kept it at Trump-era levels and infuriated congressional Democrats.
“The President’s directive today has been the subject of some confusion,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a late afternoon statement.
In response to the latest developments, the Associated Press ran the headline, “After blowback from allies, White House says President Biden will move to lift Trump-era refugee caps next month.”
The astute acknowledgement of the real reason for the reversal brought praise for the AP from Kessler.
“The WH release actually spun it as ‘confusion’ by the media on the earlier announcement. Kudos to the AP for not falling for the spin,” the head Post fact-checker tweeted.
The administration announced Friday that Biden was signing an emergency presidential determination to keep the refugee cap at 15,000 while changing the regional allocation of who is brought in — allowing more slots from Africa, the Middle East and Central America, while ending restrictions on Somalia, Yemen and Syria.
It brought immediate and widespread criticism from left-wing Democrats and immigrant activist groups.
Former President Donald Trump lowered the refugee cap for FY 2021 to 15,000 — a move Biden had pledged to reverse both during the campaign and in his first days in office.
Biden had promised to increase the cap to 125,000 for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. He also said he would work with Congress to make a “down payment” on that number. In the meantime, Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed lifting the cap to 62,000 for this fiscal year.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.