The U.S. will take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrian refugees in the next year, the Obama administration announced Thursday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Germany is “demonstrating tremendous generosity and hospitality” at a briefing, reported The New York Times. And in response to the crisis, Obama has directed his administration to admit “at least 10,000” refugees in the next fiscal year.
Europe is struggling to figure out how to deal with the hundreds of thousands, even millions, of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa expected to pour across its borders in the next several years. (RELATED: WSJ Admits Migrant Wave Will Burden European Economy)
Germany expects to take in 800,000 this year alone — primarily from war-torn Syria — and is calling on other countries to share the load. So far the U.S. has admitted less than 2,000 Syrian refugees.
Asked whether he would describe the U.S. response as generous and hospitable, Earnest said: “The challenge that is facing Germany right now is different than the challenge we’re facing.” (RELATED: German Welcome Inspires Second Migrant Wave)
Secretary of State John Kerry alarmed some lawmakers earlier Thursday when he said behind closed doors at the Capitol that the number could rise to more than 100,000 next year, up from the current figure of 70,000. Most would be Syrian refugees.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley warned the administration was considering “opening the floodgates” to refugees and “using emergency authority” to go above the numbers they have proposed, and has not ruled out paroling thousands of Syrians into the U.S.
The administration “must prove to the American people that it will take the necessary precautions to ensure that national security is a top priority, especially at a time when ruthless groups like ISIS are committed to finding ways to enter the United States,” Grassley said in a statement Thursday.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Wednesday the possibility of the Islamic State using the Syrian refugee crisis as a ticket into Europe is a “huge concern” of intelligence officials. (RELATED: Migrants Heading To Europe Predominantly Adult Men)
Earnest stressed that the administration does not intend to relax the extensive vetting procedure in place to screen possible refugees, but rejected some lawmakers idea to up the standards. “To scale up to a degree that some members of Congress have in mind would have some significant fiscal consequences,” he said.
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