NEXSTAR (WASHINGTON) — In an effort to help the now thousands of Afghans seeking refuge, dozens of Democrats are calling on President Joe Biden to increase the U.S. refugee cap.
In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., is one of the Democrats calling on Biden to more than triple the number of refugees allowed in the U.S.
“We have an obligation,” Cleaver said.
“Those people put their lives on the line to help the United States,” he said. “We’ve got to bring as many of them here as possible.”
Earlier this year Biden increased the refugee cap to more than 60,000. But Democrats say given the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Haiti and Ethiopia, that number should be no less than 200,000 starting next month.
“We can do this and we should do this,” Cleaver said.
Biden has promised to increase the limit to 125,000, but has not announced new plans to go higher.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says right now the focus is on getting thousands of recently evacuated Afghans safely resettled.
“What is also true is that every person who wants to leave Afghanistan and come to the United States is not going to be able to do that,” Psaki said.
While Republicans like Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., back efforts to help more Afghans, they say increasing the cap is not the answer.
“We absolutely should do more to get them out,” Bucshon said. “I think we need to have a larger discussion on that.”
Matthew Soerens with World Relief disagrees.
“I think that that’s actually a reasonable goal given the incredible need,” Soerens said.
He says the administration needs to do more.
“The ceiling itself is very important but it’s not sufficient. We also need to see a real commitment from the administration to processing people,” Soerens said. “Making sure people make it to the U.S.”