President Obama Orders Administration to Prepare for at least 10,000 Syrian Refugees in Next Fiscal Year

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President Barack Obama has ordered his administration to “scale up” the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States in the coming year, directing his team to prepare for at least 10,000 in the next fiscal year, the White House said Thursday.

The announcement comes amidst growing pressure for the U.S. to increase the number of refugees it accepts as those displaced by the raging Syrian civil war pour into Europe and other regions.

Before the White House announcement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the number of additional refugees the Obama administration had said on Wednesday that it was looking to accept — just 5,000.

“This is really important. I think 5,000 is far too low a figure,” she told reporters, referring to the amount Secretary of State John Kerry had mentioned to lawmakers Wednesday, according to Congressional aides and other sources familiar with the meeting.

That would increase the total number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to 75,000 for 2016. That number includes refugees from around the world but would allow the U.S. to raise the cap on Syrian refugees.

A Senate aide said that Kerry had also told senators that “they’d seek an additional increase beyond that.”

“He gave a range of numbers,” the aide said. Kerry mentioned a potential new total as high as 100,000, as well as other possible maximum numbers, according to the aide.

Pelosi on Thursday said that California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren is working on a “far more ambitious” proposal that would allow for a greater number of refugees to come in.

The administration plans to resettle 1,800 Syrian refugees by Oct. 1. Human rights groups have called on the U.S. to accept 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next year. Last spring, Democratic lawmakers wrote to President Obama asking him to “significantly increase” the number of Syrians permitted to resettle in the U.S.

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Source: CNN

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