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Durbin, Padilla Engage in Refugee Consultation with Biden Administration

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, today participated in the statutorily-required refugee consultation between the Biden Administration and House and Senate Judiciary Committee leadership.  The Biden Administration announced its Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 refugee admissions target of 125,000.  Antony Blinken, Secretary of State; Ur Mendoza Jaddou, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and Jeff Hild, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services represented the Administration in today’s consultation.

The Trump Administration dismantled the refugee resettlement infrastructure and hindered the United States’ efforts to accept our fair share of the world’s refugees.  But thanks to the work of the Biden Administration, the total number of refugee arrivals in FY23 has already more than doubled the previous year’s,” said Durbin and Padilla.  “For FY24, the President has again set a goal of resettling 125,000 refugees, which we strongly support.   And if the current pace of admissions is sustained over the coming year, we will be able to reach that goal—which would mark a 30-year high in refugee resettlement.  The world continues to face an unprecedented refugee crisis, and we remain committed to working with the Biden Administration to restore the United States as a global leader in providing safety to families and children in danger.”

Since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States resettled an average of more than 80,000 refugees per year until the Trump Administration.  Nearly 110 million people are now forcibly displaced worldwide, more than at any other time in history. This includes more than 35 million refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2.4 million refugees are now in need of protection through resettlement.

Durbin led 33 Senators in a letter to President Biden urging him to set a target of at least 125,000 refugee admissions in FY22, and he then led 29 Senators in a letter to the President urging him to establish a goal of at least 125,000 refugee admissions in FY23.

In March, Padilla convened a hearing examining the current status of refugee admissions entitled “Living Up to America’s Promise: The Need to Bolster the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.”