Biden Touts Refugee Resettlement Milestone After Asylum Crackdown

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden is trumpeting his efforts to resettle more than 100,000 refugees to the US — the highest total in three decades — after coming under fire from allies and immigration groups for his recent crackdown on asylum claims on the border.

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The milestone, announced Thursday to coincide with World Refugee Day, may help restore Biden’s standing with progressive and Latino lawmakers who earlier this month expressed alarm after he used executive authorities also invoked by former President Donald Trump to curtail undocumented migration.

Trump, who is again seeking the presidency this November, dramatically limited refugee resettlements during his time in office, citing security concerns and warning voters of a “flood of refugees.”

But Biden aides believe the process, which legally resettles those facing persecution, has widespread political support. Refugees undergo extensive security screenings, and Biden has expanded entries from countries like Ukraine that garner political sympathy with US voters.

The top source countries for refugees over the past year were the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

“On this day, we reaffirm our solidarity with refugees,” Biden said in a written statement.

The refugee announcement wasn’t Biden’s only attempt to win back immigration activists this week. On Tuesday, the president announced a separate step to fast-track green cards for eligible spouses of US citizens.

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