The White House has detoured from its original stance on accepting Syrian refugees. On Monday, spokesman for the National Security Council, Peter Boogaard, announced the Obama administration is considering taking in more Syrian refugees from what it has already taken in the past.
“The administration is actively considering a range of approaches to be more responsive to the global refugee crisis, including with regard to refugee resettlement,” Boogaard was quoted as saying by USA Today. Boogaard did not announce the time frame for the decision. However, president Barack Obama is expected to make a final announcement before October 1, USA Today reported.
The government has received referrals from the UNHCR of up to 17,000 potential refugees that could be resettled in the U.S. Out of the 17,000, U.S. has admitted approximately 1,500 since the war erupted in Syria, according to State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner. And as the fiscal year ends in 30 days, the government is expected to announce new permanent resettlement for Syrian refugees.
“We’re very likely to admit 1,500 to 1,800 Syrian refugees for permanent resettlement by the end of this fiscal year, and that number will increase for 2016, we expect,” Toner said in a press briefing.
“We don’t typically do our process – we just don’t assign – we don’t say we’re going to take X amount from Syria, per se. We don’t assign country quotas,” Toner further explained. Giving permanent resettlements for Syrian refugees involved “a very rigorous review process to approve these asylum seekers coming from Syria and which involves a very rigorous security check,” Toner added.
Toner highlighted that the U.S. remained to be the biggest provider of human assistance and protection for Syrian asylum seekers. “We provided over 4 billion in humanitarian aid since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, and this is to the millions of refugees in Turkey and elsewhere where they’ve relocated,” Toner said.