The Dallas Morning News

IN THE KNOW How the refugee system works

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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.

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