The Hill references comments made by White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who revealed that President Barack Obama directed his team to drastically increase the number of Syrians allowed to resettle in U.S. in the next fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1.
The move comes amid pressure the U.S. has received from lawmakers and human-rights groups who feel the country should do more to help the European nations who have taken in and are struggling to deal with the continuous stream of migrants. According to The Hill, an estimated 4 million Syrians have fled the county, which is at the center of a multi-faction conflict involving government forces, rebels and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Despite the Obama administration’s plans to resettle 1,800 refugees from Syria this year, the U. S. falls far below the number of refugees accepted by countries like Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom
Commenting on the situation, Earnest mentioned that the move to accept the refugees would require that the U.S.’s worldwide cap on refugees be raised from where it’s been for the past three years.
“We are looking to increase the number beyond 70,000,” he said.
President Obama isn’t the only politician taking note of the refugees’ situation. The plight has caught the attention of those running for president, with Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley calling on the U.S. to bring in as many as 65,000 refugees from Syria by the end of next year and Hillary Clinton advocating for a global conference to take on the crisis.
While Democratic candidates are voicing their willingness to help the refugees, their Republican rivals have cited security risks as their reason for rejecting attempts to accept the refugees. A point to note is the fact that Syria’s is noted for being the place for activity among Islamic militants, as many of them are fighting in the country’s long-running civil war.