How do Americans see refugees

Embarrassing farce

Joe Biden now wants to raise the upper limit for the admission of refugees to the USA to 62,000 this year. With this, the US President is rolling backwards, it is the temporary end of an embarrassing back and forth. First Biden had announced an upper limit of 65,000 at the beginning of the year, which should be increased to 125,000 from 2022.

Then, in the face of rising numbers of migrants on the US southern border and constant Fox News reporting on the subject in mid-April, the White House suggested that they might want to stick to Trump's upper limit of 15,000 per year for this year. After an outcry from activists and from the left wing of the Democrats, the role came backwards. In this sense, the development is also positive, as it proves once again that Biden and the White House react to pressure from the left.

The White House's argument that they inherited severely reduced reception capacities from the Trump administration is correct, but of course the powerful US government could build new infrastructure for processing asylum applications and housing migrants more quickly if it really wanted to. After all, a vaccination campaign for over 200 million Americans has just been launched in three months.

The truth is of course: Biden also tries to deter migrants, appealing directly to asylum seekers via television interview not to set off. The US president does not want to give the Republicans ammunition for further attacks on him - the issue of migration is the only policy area where the Republicans are currently at least reasonably successful in putting pressure on Biden.

But social science research shows that neither higher hurdles nor the type of address have any influence on the fact that desperate asylum seekers set out. Surveys in the US also show that unlike ten or 20 years ago, Democratic voters are now more open to migration, and the same applies to the country as a whole.

Donald Trump, Fox News and the Republicans only serve a minority of 30 to 40 percent of Americans with their open racism. The new US president follows old instincts and strategic calculations that have always been ugly realpolitik - but less and less are necessary for the survival of the Democrats at the ballot box.

Biden could also say offensively: "The USA can and must do more." He could try to convince the public, as he is currently doing with the climate crisis and the question of higher corporate taxation. He decided against it. Needless to say, the reception of 62,000 refugees would not overwhelm a country with a population of 340 million in the least.

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