Washington, Sept. 10, 2015 (news.cn) — President Barack Obama has asked his administration to open the door to at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, the White House said Thursday.
The next fiscal year, or the fiscal year 2016, will start from Oct.1.
“The president has directed his team to scale up that number next year and he’s informed his team that he would like them to accept, at least make preparations to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
The Obama administration has come under sharp criticism from refugee and immigrant advocates for a laggardly response and not doing enough to deal with the crisis caused by refugees escaping conflict in Syria and other countries.
When asked that U.S. is a lot larger than Britain but why it chooses to take in so smaller a number of refugees, Earnest answered by saying that “What it reflects is a significant scaling up of the commitment on the part of the United States to accept more Syrian refugees into this country.”
“I also think that this is what common sense tells us, that the solution here is to meet the most urgent, immediate need of Syrian refugee, is to make sure that we can provide basic medical care, basic shelter, basic food and water,” Earnest said. “The other thing that’s important to recognize…the top concern or the top priority when evaluating these kinds of policy options is the safety and security of the United States and our citizens.”
Since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, the population of refugees from the country has totaled around 4 million,according to the United Nations data.
The United States has reportedly taken in 1,500 refugees so far. Refugee advocates and some members of Congress insist taking in an extra 10,000 refugees does not go far enough to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, which has caused a massive refugee influx into Europe.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) criticized the U.S. response to the refugee crisis as “fumbling, feeble.”
IRC chief David Miliband said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that the U.S. should take 65,000 of Syrian refugees “to maintain its leadership position in refugee resettlement.”
When asked Wednesday if the Obama administration felt responsible to share its European allies’ refugee burden, the White House spokesman Earnest did not answer it directly, but stressed instead that the U.S. has provided 4 billion U.S. dollars in humanitarian assistance with ongoing diplomatic work to resolve Syria’s conflict “peacefully.”