John Kerry said the United States is committed to increasing the amount of Middle Eastern refugees it accepts. Although lawmakers insist that America has to bear some responsibility for the Syrian civil war, no one has been able to give a concrete number on how many people would be allowed in.
According to Politico, John Kerry announced the new commitment on Wednesday.
“We are committed to increasing the number of refugees that we take. And we are looking hard at a number that we can specifically manage with respect to the crisis in Syria and Europe. That’s being vetted fully right now and I think at the appropriate time we’ll have a better sense of what exactly that number will be.”
In Congress, Republican Senator and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker and Senator John McCain have both called on the administration to do more about the crisis.
Corker insisted that the United States bears part of the responsibility for the civil war and needs to make accommodations for the millions of fleeing refugees.
Likewise, John McCain claims Obama is now experiencing a “crisis of conscience” and is being forced to act, which he should have done long before.
He added that officials should “stop calling them migrants. These are refugees.”
Still, the big question remains. How many people?
The Huffington Post reports that roughly 4 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes. Another 3 million are leaving Iraq to escape from ISIS, and Afghanistan remains a high producer of asylum seekers. Germany alone has committed itself to taking in 800,000 this year. The United States, on the other hand, has only taken in 1,500 Syrians since 2011.
Whatever figure the administration decides on, officials reported later on Wednesday it would be higher than the current limit of 70,000 people per year. CNN reports that some congressional Republicans are alarmed at the new commitment, worried that ISIS sympathizers could use the refugee crisis as an opportunity to take root in the United States.
Last week, 3-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi washed up dead on the shore of Turkey, which currently hosts about 2 million displaced people. The child was one of over 2,600 who have drowned in the Mediterranean this year trying to reach the safety of Europe.
The photographs of the drowned child sparked international outrage and changed the political climate.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä pledged to open his home to refugees as a call to action for his country to take in more people.
In addition to the United States, Finland, and Germany, the U.K. has also committed itself to taking in more refugees.
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