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Statement on the Biden administration’s reversal on its promise to increase refugee admittance to the United States.

Executive Director Kimahli Powell speaks out on the recent news that the Biden administration is wavering in its commitment to support resettling a greater number of refugees in the United States.

Statement on the Biden administration’s reversal... Statement on the Biden administration’s reversal...

Rainbow Railroad is extremely concerned with today’s news that the Biden administration intends to limit the number of refugees allowed into the United States, reversing an earlier promise to welcome more than 60,000 people fleeing persecution in their countries of origin. Maintaining the admissions level of 15,000 leaves thousands of refugees who have been approved to travel to the United States stranded in camps around the world. Amongst these folks are many LGBTQI people fleeing unconscionable state-sponsored persecution and violence. 


In February, one week after the inauguration, the Biden administration released an important and welcome memo outlining their intention to better support LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees – today’s reversing of course appears to contradict the spirit of this document. We call on the Biden administration to seriously tackle the global refugee crisis by immediately reconsidering this change in policy. 


Last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rainbow Railroad was able to provide support to over 500 LGBTQI+ people – including the emergency relocation of 75 – and we must ensure critical pathways to safety, including in the United States. As the Biden administration approaches its first 100 days in office, we will continue to advocate for increasing refugee resettlement in the United States. The global refugee crisis is at a historic level and the U.S. must uphold its leadership and international commitments to protect these vulnerable populations – including those who identify as LGBTQI+.

Kimahli Powell, Executive Director