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The U.S.’s Inadequate Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis


The U.S.’s Inadequate Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Reports about Syrian refugees have inundated the media in the last few weeks, given the recent uncontrollable surge in migration across European borders and the worsening of the crisis. Stories of migrant deaths, including young children, have been particularly grim and shocking.

Earlier this week, concerned Americans were relieved to hear that the United States would be stepping up efforts and helping more of the refugees resettle here. The U.S. government announced it would increase the country’s yearly cap on the intake of refugees from 70,000 to 100,000 by 2017. Although this is a potential increase in the number of Syrian refugees being welcomed in the United States, as only about 1,500 Syrian refugees have come to the United States so far, it is becoming rapidly clear that this is a mere drop in the bucket.

Indeed, the cap increase will not specifically reserve spots for Syrians and will not significantly ease the plight of these particular refugees. Although individuals from other troubled nations indisputably need to resettle elsewhere, Syrians alone make up roughly a quarter of the world’s refugee population and their situation is increasingly dire. Over four million people have left Syria and are seeking a safe haven elsewhere. Two and half million people have been displaced within Syria’s borders as well.

Despite its bureaucratic constraints, the U.S. refugee program needs to step up its efforts and welcome a greater number of Syrians. The country must do its part to ease the crisis. Lebanon and Turkey cannot adequately handle the three million refugees within their borders and the commitment of European countries to provide for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees must be matched by other nations, including our own. Organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association have urged the President to increase refugee admissions to 200,000 and to designate 100,000 of those admissions for Syrians. That would be a start.

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