USA TODAY US Edition

OBAMA PLANS A RISE IN REFUGEES

U.S. to es­tab­lish num­ber of mi­grants it ac­cepts at 110,000 in 2017 to stem flow in Europe, Mid­dle East

- Alan Gomez @alan­gomez USA TO­DAY Military · U.S. News · Warfare and Conflicts · Society · Middle East News · Immigration · Politics · World Politics · Executive Office of the President of the United States · White House · United States of America · Middle East · John Kerry · Congress of the United States · Barack Obama · Hillary Clinton · Republican Party (United States) · Donald Trump · U.S. government · United Nations · Jefferson Sessions · Alabama · Virginia · Josh Earnest · Bob Goodlatte

The White House plans to sharply in­crease the num­ber of refugees ac­cepted by the United States to 110,000 in the fis­cal year that be­gins Oct. 1, say­ing the move is nec­es­sary to help stem a mi­grant cri­sis grip­ping Europe and the Mid­dle East.

The new tar­get is a 29% in­crease over the 85,000 refugees ac­cepted this fis­cal year and a 57% in­crease over the 70,000 refugees al­lowed per year from 2013 to 2015.

Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry in­formed mem­bers of Con­gress about the pro­posed in­crease Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the change pub­licly.

Obama and Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton have said the U.S needs to do more to help ease the bur­den on coun­tries in Europe and else­where that have ac­cepted mil­lions of mi­grants flee­ing war and famine in the Mid­dle East and Africa.

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump has called for the op­po­site ap­proach, say­ing the U.S. needs to bet­ter screen mi­grants who may be ter­ror­ists. He ini­tially called for a tem­po­rary ban on im­mi­grants from all Mus­lim na­tions, but has since re­fined his stance to say would-be refugees from coun­tries with known ties to ter­ror­ism re­quire “ex­treme vet­ting ” be­fore be­ing ad­mit­ted to the U.S.

Much of the de­bate over refugees has fo­cused on the 11 mil­lion peo­ple who have fled Syria as a bloody civil war con­tin­ues into its sixth year. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has ar­gued that Syr­ian refugees un­dergo ex­ten­sive back­ground checks, a process that can last up to two years, as U.S. and United Na­tions of­fi­cials ver­ify asy­lum seek­ers’ sto­ries and check pos­si­ble ties to ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The White House an­nounced last month that the U.S. had ac­cepted its 10,000th Syr­ian refugee of the year, and press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest said Obama was “grat­i­fied” that the ad­min­is­tra­tion had reached its an­nual goal. Clin­ton has said she would raise that ceil­ing even higher if elected pres­i­dent.

Repub­li­can law­mak­ers and gover­nors have fought back, ar­gu­ing that the Is­lamic State and other ter­ror­ist groups will try to ex­ploit the refugee pro­gram to slip op­er­a­tives into the United States.

Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, R-Ala., a Trump ad­viser on im­mi­gra­tion and refugee is­sues, said mi­grants from Syria have caused may­hem through­out Europe and could do the same in the U.S. if more are ac­cepted.

He said U.S. of­fi­cials can­not con­duct thor­ough back­ground checks, since Syria is in the mid­dle of a war and crim­i­nal records are dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble, to find.

Rep. Bob Good­latte, R-Va., chair­man of the House Judiciary Com­mit­tee, said Obama’s abil­ity to uni­lat­er­ally in­crease the num­ber of refugees is a re­minder why the coun­try’s refugee laws need to be up­dated.

“We must re­main com­pas­sion­ate to­ward refugees, but we also need to make sure that we use com­mon sense,” Good­latte said in a state­ment.

Obama “con­tin­ues to ig­nore warn­ings from his own na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cials and plans to bring in even more Syr­ian refugees over the next year.”

“We must re­main com­pas­sion­ate to­ward refugees, but we also need to make sure that we use com­mon sense.” Rep. Bob Good­latte, R-Va.

 ?? SIMELA PANTZARTZI, EURO­PEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY ?? A boy looks out of a bus win­dow as refugees from Syria and Iraq board a bus trans­fer­ring them to a new fa­cil­ity in At­tica from the port of Pi­raeus, Greece, in April.
SIMELA PANTZARTZI, EURO­PEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY A boy looks out of a bus win­dow as refugees from Syria and Iraq board a bus trans­fer­ring them to a new fa­cil­ity in At­tica from the port of Pi­raeus, Greece, in April.
 ?? 1 – Planned SOURCE Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion Karl Gelles, USA TO­DAY ??
1 – Planned SOURCE Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion Karl Gelles, USA TO­DAY
 ?? EPA ?? Pres­i­dent Obama is “grat­i­fied” that the U.S. has met its goal of ac­cept­ing refugees as of last month.
EPA Pres­i­dent Obama is “grat­i­fied” that the U.S. has met its goal of ac­cept­ing refugees as of last month.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA