United States will increase Refugee Quotas to Welcome Syrians
The country already welcomes some 70,000 people a year and a new higher quota will be set in the following days.
UPDATE: The United States is now talking about welcoming at least some 10,000 Syrians in 2016.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that the United States is “committed” to increasing the number of Syrian refugees within its borders.
Kerry did not specify how many people could be accepted or when they will enter. The U.S. already grants asylum to about 70,000 people from around the world each year.
“We are committed to increasing the number of refugees we accept and we are studying hard the exact number we can handle from the migration crisis in Syria and in Europe,” said Kerry.
The U.S. has given asylum to 1,500 people fleeing the Syrian war from the beginning of the conflict, but in recent months it has also expressed the difficulty of balancing aid with security threats.
Kerry’s remarks came as the debate in the EU about quotas of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria has increased the pressure on the U.S. to contribute by allowing even more asylum seekers.
The Secretary of State held on Wednesday a routine meeting on Capitol Hill on the annual quota of refugees from around the world who can seek asylum in the U.S.
“We need to conduct the procedures necessary to ensure that, especially in welcoming people from that part of the world, we do so safely,” said State Department spokesman, John Kirby.
These same concerns knocked down a previous attempt by Democrats to expand the refugee quota for 65,000 Syrians, a proposal that was met with resistance by the Republican leaders of Congress.
The process of applying for asylum in the U.S. lasts between 18 and 24 months and the authorities are working with various organizations to provide assistance to refugees while contrasting their data with various security agencies, according to the State Department.
“This is something that slows down the process but that the Government takes it very seriously,” said the spokesman.
After the meeting on Wednesday, Republican Senator John McCain said the Obama Administration “is suffering a crisis of conscience” and that the mass migration of Syrian refugees into Europe is a “call to action”. He added that the U.S. needs to change its policies regarding the conflict that has displaced millions of people for the past four years. Incidentally, John McCain is one of the people who has supported arming rebels and terrorist groups in Syria which is in itself the cause of the civil war in that country.
“It’s a massive exodus of refugees fleeing wars that the U.S. has refused to deal with for years,” McCain said. In reality, the U.S. has dutifully sponsored such wars permanently, assuring itself that all groups involved, including its partners and allies in the region, have enough cash and weapons to maintain a continuous state of war.
The U.S. has invested $4 billion since the beginning of the conflict in aid both to those displaced within their own country and to border countries that have received them in the last four years citizens. At the same time, the Obama administration has provided billions in cash and weapons to those fighting in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others, to keep the conflict going, which provides the U.S. with a ‘legitimate’ excuse to be involved in the region.
The State Department revealed that UNHCR has sent 17,000 asylum requests in the last year alone. Given the current refugee crisis to Europe, the United States might end up increasing its annual refugee quota to a accommodate the growing number of people who flee war, poverty, famine, and brutality not only in Syria, but also in other countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa.