On Day 86, the Biden-Harris White House announced that Trump’s record-low refugee admission cap would remain in place. Hours later, leftist outrage forced a policy change.
White House Whiplash.
Last Friday, Biden announced that he would keep the Trump-era refugee cap of 15,000, noting in a presidential memorandum that “admission of up to 15,000 refugees remains justified,” and should the 15,000 admissions be reached before the end of the fiscal year, admissions could be increased as appropriate. Friday’s directive would change the allocation of refugees admitted, including lifting restrictions on Somalia, Syria, and Yemen—but would not increase the number of admissions.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan tweeted, “America needs to rebuild our refugee resettlement program. We will use all 15,000 slots under the new Determination and work with Congress on increasing admissions and building back to the numbers to which we’ve committed.”
The stunning walk-back from Biden’s original promise to admit 62,500 this year and 125,000 next year prompted swift outcry from allies—and the White House caved. Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement later Friday calling the President’s directive “the subject of some confusion.” Psaki explained, “Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely… We expect the President to set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.”
On Thursday in the briefing room, Psaki stumbled on a question about Biden’s plans to raise the refugee cap, saying, “Obviously, his commitment to ensuring that we are treating refugees, immigrants, people who come into our country with humanity is evident in most of his—in his policies.”
Biden MIA For Arrival of First Foreign Leader.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the first foreign head of state to visit the Biden-Harris White House in person, appeared to receive a lackluster reception upon arrival at the White House on Friday morning.
Photos of the event showed Suga arriving to the White House without the traditional greeting by the president in front of the West Wing, and was instead greeted by the White House chief of protocol. The prime minister was not immediately received by his counterpart, but appeared across the street with Vice President Kamala Harris in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. In Friday’s press briefing, the press secretary said that a meal would not be served during the visit due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In remarks before a bilateral meeting and in a Rose Garden joint press conference, Biden repeatedly referred to the Japanese Prime Minister by his first name (“Yoshi”). He described mass shootings in the United States as a “national embarrassment” in the presence of a foreign leader. In congratulating Japan on professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama’s victory at the Masters golf tournament, Biden referred to Matsuyama as “a Japanese boy.”
“Yoshi, I know how proud you are of—the people of Japan are in—you’ve got a Japanese boy coming over here, and guess what? He won the Masters,” Biden said.
The AP reported that “Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had warned his Japanese counterpart in a call ahead of Suga’s visit to see to it that China-Japan relations ‘do not get involved in the so-called confrontation between major countries.'” Asked in the joint press conference whether specific China-related issues had been discussed in the meeting, Suga confirmed that “the circumstances in Taiwan and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” were part of the conversation on regional issues.