PINAL COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The number of refugees allowed into the country was at an all-time low during the Trump administration, with 15,000 allowed in annually, according to the White House. But, after pressure, President Biden recently announced he is increasing the cap to 62,500.
"Raising the refugee cap is good for America and its good for refugees," says Stanford Prescott Community Engagement Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Prescott works for the largest refugee resettlement agency in the State and says so far, this fiscal year, Arizona has rehoused 50 refugees. That number is expected to increase in May and June. "By making sure we're able to provide safety and freedom for these individuals who are fleeing these violent situations is a statement of American values."
Prescott adds that allowing refugees into our state helps to fill much needed jobs in hospitality and tourism, which is something employers have been asking for.
However, not everyone is on board. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb says Biden's policy to allow more legal migrants will only promote more illegal activity at the border. "You're talking about raising the number of refugees while all the while you don't want to acknowledge the amount of people that are coming in here illegally as it is."
Another possible problem is affordable housing. When refugees enter the country, they are provided with furnished housing, but Arizona's Family has been reporting a lack of options for months. So where will refugees stay?
"That's a great question. We've been working closely with our housing partners to continue to identify affordable housing options," says Prescott.
According to the White House, Biden is pledging to increase the cap on refugees next year to 120,000.