The Dallas Morning News
IN THE KNOW How the refugee system works
PURPOSE: The U.S. refugee program is aimed at people displaced from their countries because of severe conditions such as genocide, civil war and other political, religious or racial persecution. Admission is a multistep process that begins outside the United States. That is in contrast to the asylum program, which allows migrants to apply upon arriving at the border.
PROCESS: Refugees go through a vetting process that can take years. Once approved, they are often paired with organizations that work to arrange transport and resettlement in the United States. Until the Trump administration, the United States regularly resettled tens of thousands of refugees annually and led the world in accepting refugees.
BIDEN’S EARLY PLAN: Presidents have broad leeway in administering the program. While they must notify congressional leaders of their plans, they do not need their approval to set annual caps on how many refugees can come. Biden delivered a speech at the State Department on Feb. 4 in which he announced his intention to move sharply away from Donald Trump’s strict policies. On Feb. 12, the State Department submitted a report to Congress on the president’s proposal for the rest of the fiscal year, which would override Trump’s directive. The report, the culmination of an interagency process, outlined how the Biden administration wanted to raise the refugee cap to 62,500 people.