Despite refugee boost and family reunification, Biden has ‘long road to go’

On Monday, the Biden administration announced a significant increase in the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States. The announcement comes as the administration also begins to reunite parents separated from their children under the Trump administration’s family separation policy.

Maria Cristina Garcia, professor of history and Latino studies, is an expert on U.S. migration and refugees, including authoring the book “The Refugee Challenge in Post-Cold War America”.

Garcia says: “The refugee cap has always fluctuated in response to the humanitarian, foreign policy and security concerns of both Republican and Democratic administrations. While the cap shifts from year to year, the definition of who or what a refugee is does not change, but it should as part of Biden’s plans for sweeping immigration reform.

“There are many different types of forced migrants in the world today who are currently excluded from consideration for the few, but highly coveted, refugee visas.”

Chiara Galli, sociologist and Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow, studies family immigration and is authoring a forthcoming book on Central American unaccompanied minors' experiences in the American asylum system.

Galli says: “It is crucial is that families be reunited as quickly as possible since separation can cause children irreparable developmental harm and short and long-term health consequences, according to medical professionals.

“Children taken their from parents have been made to apply for asylum alone. Yet children seldom possess the detailed information necessary to successfully file an asylum claim, severely harming their chances of winning asylum. Parents are now being admitted under temporary humanitarian parole and will be expected to request asylum once they arrive. Given the current backlogs, this would mean prolonged and anxiety-producing legal limbo for these families.”

For media inquiries, contact Linda Glaser, news & media relations manager, lbg37@cornell.edu, 607-255-8942.

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