The White House has announced that the U.S. is preparing to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts on October 1, 2015. The order comes from President Obama in light of international pressure on the U.S. to do more to help the international refugee crisis.
The Syrian Civil War is now in its fifth year and more than 4 million people have become refugees. Syria’s neighbors currently host the majority of the country’s refugees. Aid has started to dry up in these countries. With no end to the war in sight, refugees have started surveying other options for building sustainable futures.
In response, many have decided their best bet is to make the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe — a voyage that has led to the death of over 2,400 refugees this year alone. The photo of a Syrian toddler’s lifeless body washed ashore in Turkey last week seems to have inspired certain changes to international policy toward Syrian refugees.
Obama was set to propose that the U.S. would raise its refugee intake from 70,000 per annum to 75,000 to cater to Syrian refugees, according to reports. To date, the U.S. has resettled less than 1,500 Syrian refugees out of 18,000 referred by the United Nations.
While the 10,000 figure is an improvement on the current figure, it’s still a far cry from the minimum of 65,000 that the UN asked the U.S. to accept. Fourteen Democratic senators recently backed this motion with a letter to the Obama administration back in May.