A group of Senate Democrats is urging the Obama administration to allow at least 6,000 Syrian refugees to settle inside the United States.
“While the United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, we must also dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees that we accept for resettlement,” the group of 14 lawmakers — led by Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) — said Thursday.
The group letter noted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) wants to resettle 130,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years and has thus far submitted more than 12,000 resettlement cases to the United States for consideration.
However, only 700 have been let into the U.S. since the Syrian conflict began nearly five years ago, “an unacceptably low number,” the senators say.
“Following the international community’s tragic failure to shelter Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi genocide, the United States played a leadership role in establishing the international legal regime for the protection of refugees,” they wrote. “In keeping with this history, we urge your Administration to work to accept at least 50 percent of Syrian refugees whom UNHCR is seeking to resettle, consistent with our nation’s traditional practice under both Republican and Democratic presidents.”