As the attention on refugees from the violence in Syria continues to grow, the question is turning to how many refugees the United States should accept.
A letter with the signatures of dozens of Democratic members of the House, including New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham, calls on the U.S. to accept 100,000 refugees from Syria, saying it is “our moral duty” to help.
This is ten times the amount of refugees from Syria the White House is preparing for.
Last Thursday, the White House announced that the State Department was preparing to accept 10,000 refugees from the war-torn country.
“The number of Syrian refugees that the United States has resettled since the start of the conflict—approximately 1,500—is insufficient in light of the current crisis,” the letter reads. “We appreciate the recent announcement that your Administration plans to increase the refugee quote for 2016 and we strongly feel that such an increase must be bold, and take into account the enormity of the current crisis.”
The letter outlines this “enormity” which includes more than four million refugees, including over 3 million women and children. Most are in neighboring countries, including one million in Lebanon, a country with a population of just under 4.5 million.
Lately, however, Lebanon has been cracking down on refugees, causing many to flee to Europe.
Countries in Europe are accepting massive amounts of refugees from war-torn and anarchic parts of the world. Germany alone is preparing for 800,000 refugees next year.
The letter acknowledges that there are those will oppose the United States bringing in additional refugees.
“They will say it is a security risk, or will hurt our economy,” the letter states.
But, the letter says, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has a more thorough application process and security vetting than for travelers or immigrants.
“Allowing an additional 130,000 refugees into our country would make up less than a quarter of one percent of our population,” the letter says, comparing to the 25 percent increase in population in Lebanon.
Attention on the refugee crisis has grown since a photo of a drowned Syrian child, three-year old Aylan Kurdi, received international attention. The photo made the front page of newspapers throughout the world.