Refugees, immigrants in Jacksonville pleased with Biden executive order to increase refugee cap

The Biden administration is looking to increase the refugee cap. 62,500 to be exact -- That's a significant increase from the 15,000 cap put in place under former President Donald Trump. News4Jax reporter Marilyn Parker joins us live in Jacksonville with details on the executive order.

The refugee and immigrant community in Jacksonville said they are looking forward to the Biden Administrations plans to increase the refugee cap.

There are thousands of refugees who are in Jacksonville now who said they are here helping the city grow, so they feel an executive order like this is necessary.

Tales of triumph from refugees and immigrants cover the floor of the ArtSee exhibit.

The Co-Founder of WeaveTales and Iraqi refugee Basma Alawee says this is how the community connects.

“Jacksonville is really diverse in the refugees population. They hear the story from us, not others tell the stories of us, and make that connection to build a safer and more welcoming community in Jacksonville,” said Alawee.

Their lives are on display just days after President Biden signed an executive order to expand refugee resettlement and improve elements of the program.

The Cultural Council says in 2018 alone, more than 156,000 immigrants contributed to nearly $4.2 billion to Jacksonville’s economy. The president’s plan will resettle up to 125,000 refugees.

“I do think it’s great. I support. I am immigrant and I do think immigrants, when they come to United States, they see raw and fresh start. Therefore, they work hard, they contribute, contribute to this country,” said Fuada Belic, a WeaveTales organizer.

State Department data shows the U.S. admitted 1,500 refugees in the current fiscal year. The cultural council of Jacksonville said the city ranks among the top 100 cities in the US for refugee resettlement.

Alawee said sharing their stories couldn’t come at a better time with this executive order.

“Because if we are expecting more refugees to come in the next two years, we want to be ready to welcome and the only way is to share,” said Alawee.

The order also states security vetting will be improved to be meaningful and fair by using sound methods of fraud detection to ensure integrity.

The resettlement would start in October, which is fiscal year 2022.

Congress still must be brought in on the plan, but doesn’t required the governments to get an exact number of people.

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A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad