Obama Administration Seeking 30% Increase in Refugees Entering US
JNS.org — The Obama administration is seeking to admit 110,000 refugees into the US over 2017, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
The plan represents a nearly 30 percent increase from the 85,000 individuals allowed in over the previous year, and an over 55% jump since 2015.
The expected number of refugees include 40,000 from the Near East and Southeast Asia, where the effects of the crisis stemming from the Syrian Civil War have been most pronounced. An additional 35,000 will come from Africa, 12,000 from East Asia, 5,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 4,000 from Europe.
The State Department has not laid out country-specific breakdowns, Earnest said.
The total includes 14,000 unallocated slots that can be given to refugees from any region.
“It’s important for people to remember that individuals who’ve been admitted to the United States under this program have to undergo more rigorous screening and vetting than any other individual that enters the United States,” Earnest said, although he didn’t say describe what that process entails.
US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, criticized the plan, calling it a “complete betrayal” of American interests given the “opposition” of the country’s citizens and the “documented link between terrorism and individuals admitted to the United States as refugees.”
“Terrorists have announced that they will infiltrate the refugee population and have successfully done so multiple times in Europe over the last year,” Session added.
Obama believes the US should “play an important role” in bringing refugees to the country and will speak to other nations next week about addressing the refugee crisis originating from the war in Syria, Earnest said.
The refugee crisis has generated much debate in the current presidential elections. As The Algemeiner reported in December 2015, Obama was faced with a backlash after likening Syrian migrants to Holocaust survivors.