PRESS RELEASE: Jesuit Refugee Service Welcomes Announcement from President-Elect Joe Biden on Increase of Refugee Admissions to 125,000

12 November 2020

President-elect announces important policy change with organization that reflects his faith values


President-elect Joe Biden, only the second Catholic to be elected president announced for the first time since being elected that his administration would raise the presidential determination for refugees, the target number for admissions of refugees to be resettled in the United States, to 125,000 during an event for Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).

“JRS believes that in the stranger we actually meet our neighbor and that every society is ultimately judged by how we treat those most in need,” said President-elect Joe Biden during an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Jesuit Refugee Service. “The Biden-Harris administration will restore our historic role in protecting the vulnerable and protecting the rights of refugees everywhere and raising our annual refugee admission target to 125,000.”


For 40 years JRS has been working to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. Founded by Jesuit Fr. Pedro Arrupe in 1980, in direct response to the humanitarian crisis of the Vietnamese boat people, JRS works in 56 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, and social needs of refugees.

“That he chose to make this announcement with us tonight is an indication that President-elect Joe Biden is following his faith when it comes to American policy to protect and welcome refugees,” said Giulia McPherson Director of Advocacy and Operations at JRS. “Not only is it exciting that the United States will once again welcome refugees at an historically high number, but it is also significant that we are hearing the President-elect speak in the language of social justice about the rights of refugees and our call as people of faith and as Americans to accompany them to safety.”

The 40th Anniversary event at which the president-elect made his announcement celebrated the work of JRS and featured a number of refugees, celebrities and leaders including: Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Secretary Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State; comedian Jim Gaffigan and writer, director, and producer, Jeannie Gaffigan; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Marcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur; the Rev. James Martin, S.J., author and editor; Katie Ledecky, Olympic swimmer; Lual Mayen, CEO of Junub Games; and the Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

See President-elect Biden’s full remarks here:

For more information and to access the full event, email: