WATCH: Press sec Psaki touts 'ambition' to increase refugee cap by more than 700%

Psaki said of the drastic increase in the numbers of unaccompanied minors: "that increase, that influx, was higher than most people, including us, anticipated."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

White House Press Secretary was held to account by reporters today with detailed questions about the Biden administration's plans on immigration and refugees. This grilling of Jen Psaki came after Biden signed an executive order on Friday as regards the cap on international refugees.

Psaki said that the country has the goal of accepting 125,000 refugees by the end of the next fiscal year, which is a massive increase from Trump's limit of 15,000.

The Trump administration had a 15,000 person cap on incoming refugees relocating to the United States, with refugees from some nations in the Middle East and north Africa banned from refugee entry altogether.

A reporter asked "First off, the White House said on Friday that the 15,000 cap set by the Trump administration remained justified," but then later in the day, the reporter noted, the administration said that the cap would be increased by May 15. This was after pushback from progressive members of Congress.

Psaki said that she disputed that characterization of what the administration said. "Friday's announcement... was an effort... to reverse the Trump policy that banned refugees from many key areas of the world," Psaki said.

Psaki then decried the former administration for not having enough refugees entering the US, saying it was limited to just thousands. The Biden administration opened the door to refugees from those nations, and intends to resume flights from those nations as well, to bring refugees to the US not only across the broken southern border, but via air as well.

"This was always meant to be just the beginning," Psaki said. "In the announcement we made on Friday," she said the president will decide whether to increase that cap of 15,000 once it has been reached. The White House then went on to decry the Trump administration for their blockage on refugees and immigration.

Psaki said that "because of the very low numbers" on refugee admittance, the administration decided "we needed to go big, and have a bold goal," hence the "ambition" to get to 125,000, which was "ten times what was let in by the Trump administration."

Psaki went on to discuss the drastic increase in the numbers of unaccompanied minors who have been crossing the border, saying "that increase, that influx, was higher than most people, including us, anticipated."


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