White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated that President Barack Obama requests the United States bring in roughly around 10,000 Syrian migrants in the next fiscal year. As this plan comes into effect, President Obama sees the possibility of having at least 2,000 refugees in the country by the beginning of October. Since the most recent conflict came about in July, the U.S. has been receiving increasing pressure from the European nations in an effort of resettling more than 16 million internally displaced Syrian refugees. According to a statement made by Earnest, the U.S. wants to be “an example in the region and world, especially encouraging non-traditional donor countries to participate.”
The Syrian conflict dates back to 2011 with anti-government demonstrations. The civil war has killed over 220,000 people, over half being innocent civilians, through means of bombing the crowded cities and violating human rights. Starting in 2012, thousands of Syrians escape the country each day, fleeing toward Lebanon, Turkey and various European Countries. The risks of the journey to foreign borders can be as high as staying: families walk for miles at night to avoid being shot by snipers or being kidnapped by soldiers to either fight or stay in a holding camp.
Despite Obama’s plans, the past week has bought about conflicting opinions and political questions. With the expected arrival of 10,000 Syrian refugees by 2016, several nations believe that the U.S. should do more in the effort of the Syrian crisis due to its capacity of resettling refugees. Eleanor Acer, Human Rights First non-profit leader, stated,“10,000 is just an embarrassingly low number given the scale of this crisis and that the United States has long been a global leader in resettlement.” Germany, with a population one-fourth of the size of the United States, plans to accept 800,000 refugees in the upcoming years. Refugee aid groups said the Obama administration has been too slow to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Obama’s announcement revealed fears about the risk of bringing in Syrians into the country. GOP leadership fears that the US is allowing potential Islamic terrorists into the country. Republican of House Homeland Security Michael McCaul stated to BBC, “ISIS wishes to use the refugees’ routes as cover to sneak operatives into the West.” The possibility of bringing a significant number of Islamic people into the country who fled the country that withholds possible terrorists brought about the events of the Boston Marathon and 9/11, which we recently honored the lives lost fourteen years ago. Although this creates an uneasiness tension in the lives of Americans, President Obama confirmed he would not allow any lessening in the intense background and medical checks, which take roughly two years to complete.
Editor’s Note: Information from Mercy Corps, BBC News and The New York Times was used in this report.