US President Joe Biden has signed an order to keep the US refugee cap at a historically low 15,000, a senior administration official says, opting against a plan he had been considering to raise it to 62,500.
The 15,000 cap had been set by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump as part of his bid to restrict immigration levels.
Biden two months ago had considered raising the cap to 62,500 and earlier on Friday a group of Democratic lawmakers had renewed appeals for him to act.
Under an emergency presidential determination signed by Biden, the US will offer refugee status to a wider part of the world than had been allowed by Trump, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said the US would use all 15,000 slots under the Biden order and that officials were prepared to consult with Congress should there be a need to increase the number of admissions to address unforeseen emergencies.
The Biden team's review of the US Refugee Admissions Program it inherited from the previous administration revealed "it was even more decimated than we'd thought, requiring a major overhaul in order to build back toward the numbers to which we've committed," the official said.
"That build-back is and has been happening and will enable us to support much increased admissions numbers in future years," the official said.