President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to radically increase refugee admissions to the United States in the next fiscal year, from 15,000 under the Trump administration, to 125,000.
In the order, Biden called for an expansion of the decades-old U.S. refugee programme, which was gutted by former President Trump, who frequently portrayed refugees as economic and security risks.
After former President Obama set a 110,000-person ceiling before leaving office, Trump slashed it every fiscal year, allocating a historically low 15,000 spots in 2020.
Last week, the United Nations refugee agency reported that countries around the globe received fewer than 23,000 refugees in 2020, the lowest number in nearly two decades, in part due to travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency said that out of the more than 20 million refugees it is assisting in different countries, 1.44 million are in urgent need of resettlement.
Biden said the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions would be for the coming fiscal year, which begins on Oct 1, 2021.