Refugee Resettlement and Religious Freedom

Apr 30, 2021

The program to resettle refugees to the United States has existed since 1980, with strong bipartisan support. Earlier this month, President Biden signed an emergency declaration to speed up refugee admissions into the United States, but did not raise the ceiling from the current 15,000 person low. After receiving pushback from advocacy groups, the administration later stated that President Biden is expected to increase the refugee ceiling for this fiscal year by May 15.

USCIRF is concerned about the historically low refugee ceiling, and has long advocated for a robust resettlement program as a way for the United States to provide safe haven to some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees.  Refugee resettlement is a separate program from the process through which individuals apply for asylum at the U.S. border.

USCIRF has reviewed and made recommendations relevant to that process as well as refugee resettlement. USCIRF Director of Research and Policy, Elizabeth Cassidy, joins us to discuss both of these issues.


Check out our Feb 10, 2021 hearing on Refugees Fleeing Religious Persecution

Read USCIRF’s statement calling on the President to increase the refugee ceiling.



Dwight Bashir, Director of Outreach and Policy, USCIRF

Elizabeth Cassidy, Director of Research and Policy, USCIRF