President Joe Biden's administration plans to raise the number of refugees allowed from Latin America and the Caribbean amid an increasing migrant crisis at the southern border, CNN reported.
The State Department has proposed admitting between 35,000 to 50,000 refugees from Latin America/the Caribbean in fiscal year 2024, according to a draft report obtained by CNN. That's up from 15,000 in fiscal year 2023.
The proposed changes would give migrants a legal avenue by which to enter the country without flocking to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The draft report also cuts refugee allocations for Europe and Central Asia from 15,000 to between 2,000 and 3,000, CNN reported.
The proposed refugee admissions cap to the U.S. overall is 125,000 in fiscal year 2024.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection late Friday released record-breaking statistics for August, when 232,972 migrants were encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The number of migrants was a monthly high for the calendar year and marked the highest August on record.
The Biden administration has aimed to bolster the refugee admissions program after then-President Donald Trump lowered the number of refugees allowed to come to the U.S. Also, during the COVID pandemic, resettlements were temporarily suspended.
"Welcoming refugees is part of who we are as Americans – our nation was founded by those fleeing religious persecution. When we take action to help refugees around the world, and include them, we honor this past and are stronger for it," Biden said in a June 20 statement marking World Refugee Day this year.
The 2024 refugee cap requires consultation with Congress before Saturday, the end of the fiscal year.
CNN reported that senior administration officials are expected to meet with lawmakers this week.
As of Aug. 31, the U.S. admitted 51,231 refugees in fiscal year 2023, according to the latest federal data. While short of the 125,000 ceiling, admissions since last October are more than double all of fiscal year 2022, CNN reported.
The administration has tried to address bottlenecks in the system and its laborious admissions process system. It also implemented a new program that allows groups of private citizens to sponsor international refugees.
"This coming fiscal year feels like a transition from an aspirational target to a realistic expectation," Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told CNN.
The Biden administration also is partnering with international organizations to establish processing centers that will play a role in referring migrants with protection needs. The offices are in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.
Also, Mexico will process Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans who are eligible for the so-called P2 designation, which applies to "groups of special concern designated by the Department of State as having access to the program by virtue of their circumstances and apparent need for resettlement," CNN reported.
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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