The International Institute of New England applauds President Biden’s plans to increase the cap on the number of refugees who can enter the U.S. from 62,500 to 125,000 starting on October 1. There are 26.4 million refugees around the world, and by increasing our cap, the U.S. has a chance to reassert itself as a leader in providing humanitarian assistance to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Many refugees coming to the U.S. seek to join family members, and most have spent years waiting to settle in a new country. Refugees overcome many obstacles to come to the U.S., and every individual we’ve met over the years has tremendous grit and determination that only make our country better.

While we are pleased with the promise of more refugee arrivals in the coming twelve months, we strongly urge the President and Congress to provide enough funding and staff for the Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. agencies to process 125,000 people who will be entering our country as refugees. The promise of a higher number of refugees entering our country gives many people around the world hope, but we will let them down if we don’t have the funds to deliver on this commitment. Refugees arrive with many burdens and few resources, and they need many essential services to adjust to a new culture, begin to recover from trauma, and become self-supporting in a new country.

While IINE praises the Biden administration’s plans to resettle more refugees, we are focused on preparing to resettle hundreds of people evacuated by the U.S. government from Afghanistan last month. We urge Congress to adopt legislation that gives Afghan evacuees asylum, access to public benefits, and a path to citizenship. Many of the Afghans who fled their country last month supported our military and civilian personnel, and now it is our turn to support them.