Press Releases

CAIR Welcomes President Biden’s Increase of Refugee Cap from Historic Low, Pledge to Next Year Expand to 125,000

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/4/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed both President Joe Biden’s decision to raise the United States’ 2021 refugee admissions cap from 15,000 refugees to 62,500 refugees and his pledge to further increase the cap to 125,000 refugees in 2022. 

SEEWhite House: Memorandum for the Secretary of State on the Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021

The increase in the refugee cap comes weeks after pushback from civil rights groups, immigration rights activists, legislators and others who decried President Biden’s initial claim that the prior administration’s “cap of up to 15,000 remains justified.”

The 15,000 cap on refugee admissions was a record low for the United States.  

SEE: AP: Biden quadruples Trump refugee cap after delay backlash

In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said: 

“CAIR welcomes President Biden’s decision to raise the nation’s 2021 refugee cap to 62,500 and his pledge to increase the cap to 125,000 in 2022. Raising the nation’s refugee cap from its historic low was the morally correct decision and a first step to undoing the prior administration’s xenophobic policy of punitively targeting those seeking refuge in our nation as part of an effort to maintain systemic anti-Black racism and white supremacy.  

“The American Muslim community is determined to ensure the rights of every immigrant are upheld and our nation remains a place of safe haven for refugees and asylum seekers.”    

The Biden Administration’s increased 2021 refugee cap of 62,500 is broken down internationally by region for admission into the United States: 

  • Africa: 22,000 
  • East Asia: 6,000 
  • Europe and Central Asia: 4,000 
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 5,000 
  • Near East and South Asia: 13,000 
  • Unallocated Reserve: 12,500 

In March, CAIR welcomed the re-introduction of the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement (GRACE) Act.  The GRACE Act strengthens the Refugee Act of 1980 by preventing the U.S. President from setting a Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions at a level below 125,000.   

SEECAIR Welcomes Reintroduction of Bill to Reestablish US Commitment to Welcome Refugees 

Last year, CAIR welcomed a ruling by a Maryland judge stating that the prior administration cannot give state and local governments “veto power” to reject refugees from resettling within their borders. 

SEECAIR Welcomes Md. Judge’s Ruling Blocking Trump’s Order on Refugee Resettlement 

CAIR also condemned the prior administration’s decision to slash refugee admissions to a historic low. 

SEECAIR Condemns Trump’s New White Supremacist and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, Slashing of Refugee Admissions 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.    

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.”    


CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,