Secretary of State John Kerry announced plans to allow more refugees to enter the United States during the 2017 fiscal year in a speech to Congress on Tuesday.
According to reports, the number would be increased by 30 percent to reach 110,000 starting October 1st. The administration had previously set a goal of allowing 85,000 refugees to move to the U.S. during the 2016 fiscal year.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, “That does represent a substantial increase in our commitment to addressing the refugee problem around the world. But I think what we need to see around the world is a greater commitment to not just shunting this burden off to a handful of countries.” Earnest added that the U.S. is the world’s largest humanitarian donor that benefits refugees.
The issue of allowing more refugees and immigrants into the U.S. is a hot button topic in the presidential campaign, and many Republican congressional representatives do not agree with the administration’s decision to allow more refugees into the country. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte was quoted in a statement saying, “For generations, the United States has been a safe haven for people fleeing persecution. We must remain compassionate toward refugees but we also need to make sure that we use common sense.”
Many refugees are fleeing their homes to escape violence and start a new life in the U.S. According to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute most refugees who moved to the U.S. in 2015 were from Burma, which sent over 18,000 refugees to get away from the ethnic conflict that has affected their country for years.
President Obama is hosting a summit at the United Nations General Assembly focused on the international refugee crisis. In August of this year, the 10,000th Syrian refugee was approved for resettlement in the U.S. The new number for Syrian refugees has increased to a reported 11,503. Additionally, the Obama administration is working towards a diplomatic solution to the violence in Syria by working on a ceasefire with Russia that began earlier this week.
So, while the United Nations has estimated that there are some 65.3 million displaced people around the globe, the U.S. increase, while small, demonstrates that America has the capacity and willingness to continue making change.