President Obama Directs Administration to Accept at Least 10,000 Syrian Refugees in the Next Fiscal Year

Juliet Eilperin and Carol Morello, Washington Post, September 10, 2015

President Obama has directed the administration to accept at least 10,000 refugees from Syria in the next fiscal year, White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced Thursday, a six-fold increase over the number admitted this year to the United States.

The new figure, which Earnest described as an “ambitious goal,” reflected the growing pressure the administration faces to develop a more robust response to the spiraling humanitarian crisis that has grown out of armed conflict in Syria as well as neighboring countries. Earnest also urged other nations in Europe and the Middle East — including some that don’t typically welcome asylum seekers — to “ramp up” their willingness to take in Syrian refugees.

In the fiscal year that ends this month, almost 1,400 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, according to State Department figures. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has submitted more than 18,000 names, but the laborious screening procedure typically takes up to two years to complete.

The United States has so far lagged far behind several European countries in this regard, largely due to the time-consuming screening procedure to block Islamist militants and criminals from entering the United States under the guise of being legitimate refugees.

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The administration has spent $4.1 billion on humanitarian aid since the Syrian conflict began.

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