WASHINGTON (RNS) — Faith-based refugee resettlement groups offered qualified praise for President Joe Biden amid news his administration plans to keep the annual refugee cap level at 125,000, maintaining the elevated ceiling while shifting quotas to allow more asylum-seekers from the Western Hemisphere.“Resettling more families from our own hemisphere will be critical to maintaining our humanitarian leadership, building trust with regional partners, and reducing the need for vulnerable people to make the dangerous journey to the U.S. southern border,” Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, head of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said in a statement.
Proposed shifts that appeared in a draft report obtained by CNN will likely allow the U.S. government to take in more refugees from countries struggling politically and economically, such as Venezuela. Thousands of asylum-seekers from that country have appeared at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, many having endured treacherous journeys through the Darién Gap — the dangerous jungle region that separates North and South America.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted that while the USCCB is still awaiting an official announcement regarding the refugee cap, which is set annually in advance of the Oct. 1 fiscal year start, it has already expressed support “for increased refugee resettlement from Latin America.”
Heads of the religious nonprofits, which constitute six of the nine organizations that partner with the federal government to resettle refugees in the U.S., were also quick to laud …