Biden announces refugee cap for 2023: can the U.S. support 125,000 refugees?

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-President Biden has announced that 125,000 refugees will be allowed into the United States for the 2023 fiscal year, keeping the same cap as this year. 

“My first reaction was I was glad the President has maintained the cap at 125,000 which is impressive compared to what the former administration had in place,” said International Center of Kentucky Executive Director Albert Mbanfu. 

The current cap of 125,000 refugees a year is over 100,000 more than former President Donald Trump would allow. The Trump administration allowed 15,000 refugees per year. 

“What came to my mind next was is the infrastructure there to bring in 125,000 and that’s where it’s debatable and that’s where my concern is as of now,” said Mbanfu. 

The limited infrastructure is obvious. Last year despite the 125,000 refugee cap, the United States only managed to take in less than 50,000. 

“To me I look at it as an inspirational number, to reach that number we’ll have to perform some miracle some way,” said Mbanfu. 

Trump’s administration decreased refugee funding and staff. 

“The structure that was put in place over decades to process refugees and bring them into the United States was destroyed in a period of four years. And you cannot rebuild a structure that took decades in a year or two,” said Mbanfu. 

Mbanfu hopes there are continued efforts to improve both the refugee and immigration process. 

“When we landed in America when we see the flag, we are in Los Angeles when we see United States flag, we feel so much freedom,” said immigrant Joseph Thang. 

On October 3, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson eradicated the clause that said only immigrants from Europe could come to the United States, trying to end immigration discrimination. 

Bowling Green resident Thang came to the United States from Burma in 2005. If not for this day in history, he said his life could look very different. 

“Without the 1965 immigration reform we would not see opportunity, to see how far how we could go, the opportunity we have,” said Thang.