Democrats in Congress this week slammed President Joe Biden for his decision to maintain a cap on refugees in line with those of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump. 

The Biden administration will reportedly maintain a 15,000 cap on refugees this year, an historically low number set by the Trump administration. Biden had previously pledged to allow up to 60,000, four times as many as the current cap. 

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called the decision “simply unacceptable and unconscionable.”

“After four painful years of fighting Trump’s all-out draconian assault on immigrants, President Biden promised to restore America as a beacon of hope and committed to increasing our refugee resettlement numbers,” Jayapal said on her congressional website, claiming that “by failing to sign an Emergency Presidential Determination to lift Trump’s historically low refugee cap, President Biden has broken his promise to restore our humanity.”

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, urged Biden in a letter to “demonstrate [the country’s] robust commitment as a nation by resettling the world’s most vulnerable refugees.”

“As we face the largest global refugee crisis in history, with 29.6 million refugees worldwide, resettlement serves as a critical tool in providing protection to those fleeing persecution,” Menendez added.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, meanwhile, wrote on his senatorial website that the Biden administration’s refugee target was “unacceptable.”

“These refugees can wait years for their chance and go through extensive vetting,” Durbin wrote. “Thirty-five thousand are ready. Facing the greatest refugee crisis in our time there is no reason to limit the number to 15,000. Say it ain’t so, President Joe.”

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