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The U.S. Is Rebuilding a Legal Pathway for Refugees. The Election Could Change That.

With national attention focused on the chaos at the southern border, President Biden has been steadily rebuilding a legal pathway for immigration that was gutted during the Trump administration.

The United States has allowed more than 40,000 refugees into the country in the first five months of the fiscal year after they passed a rigorous, often yearslong, screening process that includes security and medical vetting and interviews with American officers overseas.

The figure represents a significant expansion of the refugee program, which is at the heart of U.S. laws that provide desperate people from around the world with a legal way to find safe haven in the United States.

The United States has not granted refugee status to so many people in such a short period of time in more than seven years. The Biden administration is now on target to allow in 125,000 refugees this year, the most in three decades, said Angelo Fernández Hernández, a White House spokesman.

By comparison, roughly 64,000 refugees were admitted during the last three years of the Trump administration.

“The Biden administration has been talking a big talk about resettling more refugees since Biden took office,” said Julia Gelatt, an associate director at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. “Finally we are seeing the payoff in higher numbers.”

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