Biden cracks open the door for refugees

Email sent: May 4, 2021 6:02pm

Biden raises the US refugee cap; Netanyahu's position at the helm of Israel's government again looks tenuous.


Tonight's Sentences was written by Gregory Svirnovskiy.

Biden expands refugee cap to 62,500 people
Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • After obfuscating last month, President Joe Biden on Monday announced that he would be quadrupling the country's refugee ceiling to 62,500 for the 2021 fiscal year, with an eye toward expanding it to 125,000 refugee admissions in 2022. [CNN / Priscilla Alvarez and Maegan Vazquez]
  • The revisions eliminate the historically low cap set at 15,000 admissions by President Donald Trump last year. [CNN / Priscilla Alvarez and Maegan Vazquez]
  • The Biden administration almost didn’t make a change. Last month, it stated Trump’s cap was “justified by humanitarian reasons” and “otherwise in the national interest.” Backlash among Democratic allies was swift. [Associated Press / Matthew Lee, Zeke Miller and Julie Watson]
  • In raising the cap, Biden struck a different tone. “This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” he said in a White House press statement. [New York Times / Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs]
  • But a lifted cap doesn’t mean the White House will let in quadruple the refugees. Biden acknowledged that the government “will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year." Refugee settlement has been slowed by barriers set up by the Trump administration and by the Covid-19 pandemic, [Politico / Laura Barron-Lopez, Nahal Toosi, and Natasha Korecki]
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Netanyahu may be out of time to form a government
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially runs out of time to build a coalition government in the Knesset on Tuesday. His party, Likud, won the most votes in the March elections, though nowhere near enough to enjoy a controlling majority. [Al Jazeera]
  • Netanyahu was given one month to pull together enough political parties under his leadership to establish institutional legitimacy. [Al Jazeera]
  • This episode of political turmoil is the latest in a long line of stagnation in Israel's government and within its electorate. If a working coalition fails again, the country may find itself careening into an unprecedented fifth election. [Times of Israel / Haviv Rettig Gur]
  • But first, President Reuven Rivlin could ask Yair Lipid, a centrist whose Yesh Atid party finished second in the March elections, to form his own coalition. [CNN / Andrew Carey]
  • This comes as Netanyahu's trial for charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust continues. He has twice made apparent attempts to use his position of power to influence the trial. [Washington Post / Steve Hendrix]
India's main opposition party is calling for a nationwide lockdown over Covid-19, with the country having crossed the 20 million case mark.


  • The US and Iran are close to rejoining the Iran nuclear deal under new terms. While the Americans are denying that any deal is imminent, there are signs of progress. [Matthew Lee / Associated Press]
  • Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing. The financial implications are not immediately clear, though they say they will not stop working together on charitable efforts. [CNBC / Jordan Novet]
  • US officials are set to retool how they approach vaccine distribution, as demand begins to lag. Vaccines will be made available in the workplace, in places of worship, and some even at people’s homes. [Axios / TIna Reed]
  • At least 24 people are dead after the collapse of an overpass on a Mexico City public transit line. The city’s metro is among the busiest in the world. [CNN / Karol Suarez, Sharif Paget and Ben Westcott]
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"This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue."

[A spokesperson for Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, on a GOP push to oust her from her leadership role because of her open opposition to Trump]

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