U.S. Must Do Better Than an Extra 5,000 Refugees

By Mstyslav Chernov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Mstyslav Chernov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. is seeking, according to the Associated Press, to admit at least 5,000 more refugees, or about 75,000 total for next year, and the Wall Street Journal reports that the administration may ask Congress to approve as many as an extra 30,000 refugees, for a total of 100,000. The U.S. has so far admitted only 1,500 Syrian refugees out of the 11.6 million Syrians who have fled the war in their country. Meanwhile, Germany is looking at taking in as many as 800,000 new Syrian refugees.

As you might expect, our paltry offer of charitable refuge for Syrians (and Iraqis, etc.) does not sit well with humanitarian-minded groups, who are asking the U.S. to admit around 70,000 Syrian refugees alone. The State Department states it takes 18 months to two full years to “process” a single refugee. Perhaps we need to immediately hire a lot of Syrian refugees to staff the State Department and speed up the processing. And as you might expect, American Republicans, except for, sort of, Donald Trump, are leery of admitting a lot of new foreigners, and Sen. John McCain is blaming Pres. Obama’s lack of leadership for causing the violence that is causing the refugee crisis. McCain, as always, wants to see more U.S. military involvement, though this would merely increase the scope of the violence in Syria and likely lead to more refugees, not less.

What Sen. McCain and the rest of Congress should do is call for the generous opening of our nation to the refugees of the Syrian war and other wars. The Syrian revolt began as a nonviolent protest against the brutality and oppression of the Assad regime, but the opposition eventually turned to war. We must do all we can to help those fleeing from this war and do all we can to prevent war and violence from beginning and increasing in the first place.

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