Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States will be accepting thousands more refugees fleeing the war in Syria, adding that President Bashar al-Assad’s departure is empirical in bringing a settlement to the country’s four-year civil war.
Speaking in Berlin, Kerry said that the U.S. will take in 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year. This increases the total population of refugees that the U.S. will admit to 100,000 in the 2017 fiscal year; last year, the same number was 70,000. “Most people have accepted that to get somewhere, it’s not going to happen on day one or week one,” Kerry said. “The key here is getting to this negotiation with a reality check on what is really possible.”
As reported by CBS News, the reason why U.S. could not admit more was because of post 9/11 screening requirements and inadequate money offered by the Congress. “We’re doing what we know we can manage immediately,” Kerry said.
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Statistics obtained from United Nations reveal that 9 million people have been displaced as a result of the dire circumstances the Syrian civil war has created. Moreover, in excess of 4 million have fled the country. Over the weekend, in one 24-hour period of time around 11,000 refugees entered Austria.
However, the number of people to be allowed to enter the United States was criticized by some of the leading Republican congressional leaders, who cited security risk. “ISIS and other terrorist groups have made it abundantly clear that they will use the refugee crisis to try to enter the United States,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. More refugees, they added, are being allowed an entrance “without a concrete and foolproof plan to ensure that terrorists won’t be able to enter the country. The administration has essentially given the American people a ‘trust me.’ That isn’t good enough.”
In an interview, Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton emphasized that the U.S. “has to do more and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people we would take in, looking to really emphasis some of those who are most vulnerable.” She further said, “I want the United States to lead the world,” adding that a meeting should take place at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly meeting wherein countries should make commitments and propose policies regarding providing money and aid to the refugees.
According to USA Today, thousands of refugees have arrived in Lesbos hoping to be able to take the ferries to mainland Greece and continue their journey northwards towards Europe.
Kerry emphasized that the Syrian civil war can be ended by ousting Assad. Kerry added that the United States will negotiate the terms of Assad’s departure with Russia, which has been supporting Assad’s government through a recent military buildup.
According to Bloomberg, this is Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the World War II. Germany is being sought by several refugees fleeing war and poverty. On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European Union leaders will be participating in an informal summit in Brussels to discuss the migrant crisis and propose ways to stem the influx of migrants. While Germany will accept more migrants, Merkel said it should be realistic in terms of the number of migrants it can accept, adding that other European nations should extend their hand in resolving the crisis. “It’s not just a German challenge,” she said.
“I’m firmly convinced that we won’t be successful if we pretend we can do it all,” she said. “We’re a big country, we’re a strong country and we want to be a diverse country. But to pretend we can solve all of the world’s social problems on our own, wouldn’t be realistic. We have to keep an eye on reality.”