Amnesty International is asking the White House to do more to welcome refugees following Biden’s proposed presidential determination to admit up to 125,000 refugees this fiscal year amid the horrific treatment of Haitian asylum-seekers at the U.S. southern border. The rights group asked the White House to admit at least 200,000 refugees this fiscal year.
“Communities across the United States are ready to welcome their new neighbors, yet the White House continues to lag behind those eager to make this country their new home,” Paul O’Brien, the executive director of Amnesty International USA said in a statement on Monday. “At a time when thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee their home to find safety, and Haitians are seeking safety on the southern border, the very least the United States can do is set a resettlement goal that meets the moment: anything but a robust commitment to humanitarian protections for refugees and asylum-seekers is a dismal failure.”
O’Brien asserted that “local groups, faith-based institutions, universities, businesses and entire communities have shown greater leadership in welcoming refugees than any we have seen from the White House in recent years.” He said the United States “can and we must do better.”
“Amnesty International USA is calling for the Biden Administration to admit at least 200,000 refugees this fiscal year and uphold its legal and moral commitment to allow people to seek asylum,” O’Brien added.
Every year, the U.S. President determines the number of refugees who should be resettled to the U.S. in the upcoming fiscal year, signaling the United States commitment to those fleeing violence and persecution. The Refugee Act of 1980 created the United States’ modern refugee program, which has resulted in over three million people resettled to a new home in the U.S.
According to the right group, tens of thousands of Afghans have arrived to the United States to seek safety, and tens of thousands more are still in Afghanistan and in third countries urgently in need of refugee protection. There are 82 million people forcibly displaced around the world, with 1.47M people in need of resettlement this coming year according to the UN Refugee Agency, yet the United States is resettling fewer refugees than ever before.
Most recently, the Biden administration has forcibly removed at least 300 Haitian asylum-seekers in Del Rio, Texas, back to Haiti by misusing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Title 42, a public health quarantine.
Amnesty International described the removals of Haitians as “a policy seeped in anti-Black racism, exacerbating the likelihood for acute harm as the U.S. government summarily returns people to a country struggling with concurrent political, environmental, and economic disasters.”
“Through the Longer Table Initiative, Amnesty International USA and its supporters all across the country have been working to welcome refugees through community sponsorship,” the organization said in a statement. “Actions by the Longer Table Initiative have included writing letters, signing up communities to sponsor a refugee or a refugee family to live locally, incorporating refugee stories into a book club, and more.