Reform Jewish Movement Condemns Biden’s Refusal to Raise Refugee Admissions

April 16, 2021

WASHINGTON – In response to the Biden Administration’s announcement that it will keep the 2021 refugee admissions goal at a historic low, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement institutions:

The Biden administration’s reneging on a promise to raise the refugee admissions goal for 2021 is a destructive abandonment of commitments made as well as American values. By refusing to raise the historically low refugee admissions cap of 15,000, the administration has left tens of thousands of refugees in a dangerous limbo and at risk of losing their ability to be resettled in the near future. The Biden administration must separate itself from the callous immigration policies implemented by the Trump administration; raising refugee admissions and restoring the refugee resettlement program must be a priority.

As Jews, we know too well the harm of turning away those seeking refuge. Our own historical experiences throughout the centuries remind us what it is like to be uprooted from home and to seek refuge in other countries. We demand nothing less than a significant increase in refugee admissions from an administration whose stated values must be matched by actions that reflect justice and compassion.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the social justice office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.8 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.