Secretary of State John Kerry announced this Sunday that the US will be significantly increasing its intake of worldwide refugees in the coming two years. At a news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Kerry stated that “the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year, up from 70,000, and that total would rise to 100,000 in 2017.” The US was previously intending to take on only 10,000 additional refugees. Kerry was prepared to increase the number even further, but post-9/11 background checks and a lack of funding has kept him from doing so.
According to the Washington Post, the increasing of this limit is in response to the growing numbers of Syrians fleeing their civil war and most of the incoming refugees will be Syrian, though there continues to be an influx of African refugees as well.
Some Americans are concerned that terrorist groups will use this opportunity to infiltrate the States. However, it’s become abundantly clear that the Syrian civil war has created circumstances so dire that the US can no longer stand idly by. Some officials are even urging the Obama administration to allow entry to the US to 100,000 Syrians this year. Former State Department legal adviser Harold Koh explains: “humanitarian aid has fallen short in the face of unspeakable suffering.”
“This step is in keeping with America’s best tradition as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope,” Kerry said. He has also reported that Syrians have lost hope in conditions in their home country improving, hence why we must welcome them to ours.