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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Welcomes Executive Order to Restore Refugee Admissions
February 04, 2021

Human Rights First Welcomes Executive Order to Restore Refugee Admissions

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden announced today an executive order that demonstrates that the United States is serious about addressing the global refugee crisis, climate-induced migration and honoring our commitment to protect those who served alongside American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Human Rights First urged the Biden administration to continue pursuing a return to rule of law by immediately rescinding restrictions that are keeping people from seeking refuge at the U.S. southern border.

“As advocates and lawyers for people seeking refuge in the United States, we welcome the progress made today by President Biden in rebuilding the refugee admissions program. Restoring the United States’ historic leadership in protecting those fleeing persecution is critical as we face a global refugee crisis,” said Jennifer Quigley, director of refugee advocacy at Human Rights First. “Furthermore, we applaud the historic step President Biden has taken to address the needs of those forcibly displaced by the climate crisis. People displaced by climate change must be offered solutions that respect their dignity.”

The president also announced a review of the current Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program for Iraqis and Afghans to ensure efficiency in programs plagued with long processing times and said the White House would consider calling on Congress to legislate an SIV program for individuals who serve the United States in conflict areas.

“The ranks of our armed forces have always been filled by those who were displaced and fled their native lands for shelter in the United States,” said Christopher Purdy, project director of Veterans for American Ideals. “Our troops are safer when our allies trust that we will honor our nation’s commitments to those who stand with us. By restarting a robust refugee resettlement system, shoring up SIV programs for Iraqi and Afghan allies, and seriously evaluating the need for a permanent Special Immigrant Visa program, the Biden administration shows that it is taking our national security seriously.”

The Biden administration also announced today that it would increase the refugee admissions number to 125,000 for FY2022. 

Human Rights First has outlined key policy changes that are needed to protect refugees and asylum seekers in its policy blueprint, “Upholding Refugee Protection and Asylum at Home.”