President Obama has placed the United States in a stronger position when it comes to aiding the growing number of Syrian refugees who have had to flee the conflict in their home country. Some say that it is only pressure to join the United Nations in their show of support that has finally led to the decision that Obama announced on Thursday. The administration stated that in the upcoming year the United States would be prepared to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees.
The Syrian refugee crisis has made a devastating impact across the world recently as videos and pictures of the severe losses suffered by the refugees, in their attempts to reach safe territory has gone viral. The United States involvement was inevitable since there is actually an annual meeting about refugee admittance. The announcement of the figure of 10,000 has however, been met with mixed feelings. Though it is quite a significant increase on previous amounts, only 1,434 Syrian refugees has been taken in in the four years that Syria has been in conflict, we are left to wonder if it is enough.
The New York Times reported that in a closed-door congressional committee, it was revealed by Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama administration should be prepared for an increase in the amount of refugees accepted. The total figure is set to be 70,000 overall and reportedly can go as high as 100,000. However, the proposed amount is not just related to Syrians, but refugees from all over the world. No clear number for Syrian immigrants have been given. The administration has still come under attack though, and from multiple sources, for the aid set to give.
Considering the size of the United States and its economy, many, including aid groups from across the world, are saying not enough is being done. The sum is considered paltry to them, especially in the face of other countries’ planned intake. Germany alone plans to take in approximately 800,000 and the country is much less rich in terms of space or resources. The Inquisitr has previously reported on the involvement of other countries in the Syrian refugee crisis giving a close look at where they stand. CNN reported that human rights groups in the U.S. are calling for at least 65,000 Syrian refugees to be taken into the population during the crisis. On the other hand, there are many persons who believe that even one refugee is too much to be admitted into their country, citing that the could be opening the floodgates to terrorists.
Iowa Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, gave an interview expressing his concerns after the Congressional meeting and they seem to line up with those who are worried about the development.
“Before agreeing to accept tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Obama administration must prove to the American people that it will take the necessary precautions to ensure that national security is a top priority, especially at a time when ruthless terrorist groups like ISIS are committed to finding ways to enter the United States and harm Americans.”
While there is a vetting system in place it is tedious, taking about 18-24 months to be completed. A group of senators who had a previous plan to admit more Syrians was denounced by opponents as the “jihadi caucus” and the criticism is a great identifier as to why the administration may not be able to admit more asylum seekers at this time, though the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has already referred 18,000 cases to the United States for resettlement.
In a country notorious for its political differences, can the current figure really be bashed? The United States is divided. Republicans against democrats, persons who are for versus those who are against immigration and asylum in general and with the decision coming on the eve of the remembrance of the September 11 attack, the 10,000 may be the best available right now.
The images and footage of the refugee crisis continues to pour out of Europe and the situation is getting harder to ignore as the more than seven million Syrians that have been displaced by the civil war continue to struggle for survival.
[Photo Courtesy of Philipp Guelland/ Getty Images]