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The U.S. Should Let In 100,000 Syrian Refugees

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. Most have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, but many have risked death to reach Europe and the possibility of a better life. Unlike Europe and Syria'€™s neighbors, the United States has had the advantage of picking and choosing from afar, taking in just over 2,000 Syrian refugees since the war'€™s start. The Obama administration has pledged to take another 10,000 in 2016, but there are some who suggest that we are falling well below the number that we can and should accept. What are our moral obligations, and what are the cultural, economic, and security issues that must be taken into account? Should the U.S. let in 100,000 Syrian refugees?


This fact sheet, drawn from recent Migration Policy Institute (MPI) research, analysis of U.S. government policies, and other sources, covers key questions such as refugee benefits use, employment, and educational attainment; the screening that would-be refugees have to go through before admission; and the likely integration picture for Syrian refugees.

Thursday, October 1, 2015
Randy Capps and Michael Fix

The U.S. vetting system is strong, and so is the American tradition of welcoming the oppressed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Ryan Crocker

Resettlement would cost real money, but far less than further military intervention.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
A. Trevor Thrall

There is also a relatively recent precedent for the country admitting and successfully assimilating far more refugees than even sixty-five thousand.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
John Cassidy

The case for taking Syrian refugees easily outweighs opposing considerations.

Monday, November 23, 2015
Ilya Somin

It would be a shame if the drive to allow the United States to play an even more meaningful role in a humanitarian protection system that is under severe strain, in part because of the Syrian crisis, were to become embroiled in a debate that is heavy on rhetoric and light on facts.

Thursday, October 1, 2015
Kathleen Newland

The Obama administration insists that national security concerns constrain it from going further. Yet officials at more than a dozen agencies could not point to any specific or credible case, data, or intelligence assessment indicating that Syrian refugees pose a threat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Molly O’Toole

Two former Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security -- Janet Napolitano (2009-2013) and Michael Chertoff (2005-2009) -- wrote to President Obama today about how we can welcome refugees while ensuring the safety and security of Americans.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Ken Meyer

As the United States now considers the immediate risks of admitting refugees fleeing conflict in the Syria, I would also urge lawmakers to pause and consider the long-term threats facing our country if we fail to act and admit Syrian refugees.

Monday, October 12, 2015
Frances Townsend

A rebuttal to MPI’s ‘Ten Facts about U.S. Refugee Resettlement.’

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Nayla Rush

The president has seen the enemy, and it is the refusal to accept more Syrian refugees.

Friday, November 20, 2015
Rich Lowry

Given that some of the terrorists who attacked Paris snuck into Europe using fake passports pretending to be Syrian refugees, coupled with several attempts by Syrian nationals to illegally cross our borders, most Americans are worried about the refugee policy and have called for it to be paused.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Alex VanNess

Training requires that officials collect intelligence based on ‘behavioral indicators’ while downplaying ‘religious affiliation.’

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Kerry Picket

Allowing millions of Syrians and others from the Muslim Middle East into Europe will end up as a catastrophe for Europe, and therefore for the West.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Dennis Prager

It is important that the U.S. system remain different from the open door Europe is extending to the current surge of migrants and refugees.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
James Carafano and Steven Bucci

This report provides preliminary findings of a review of security concerns regarding the Syrian refugee crisis. It concludes that the administration’s proposal of 10,000 admissions would have limited impact on alleviating the overall crisis but could have serious ramifications for U.S. homeland security.

Sunday, November 1, 2015
House Homeland Security Committee

In testimony before the Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligences, Jones recommends reassessing the U.S. refugee program and making sure it safeguards national security.

Monday, June 1, 2015
Seth Jones

The head of the House Committee on Homeland Security said that members of the Islamic State have explored entering the United States through the refugee resettlement program.

Monday, December 7, 2015
Seth McLaughlin
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Kathy Gilsinan

Advocates, academics, and officials from the State Department United Nations officials talked about the global response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Q: Are 65,000 Syrian refugees being relocated to the U.S.? A: No. The Obama administration says 1,000 to 2,000 Syrians will likely be resettled in the United States by the end of September, and at least 10,000 more in 2016.

Thursday, September 10, 2015
D’Angelo Gore

The Paris bombings and other recent terrorist attacks have given rise to a political debate within the United States about the Obama administration’s plan to admit Syrian refugees. But the facts about refugees are being distorted in some instances.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Confirmed pledges for resettlement and other forms of legal admission since 2013, by country.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

UNHCR estimates the global resettlement needs to be at over 1,150,000 persons. This reflects a 22% increase over the previous year, explained by the fact that resettlement needs for Syrians were not included in the 2014 projections.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The preparation of each resettlement submission must pass through a set of common processing stages. This flowchart outlines these processing stages.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Amy Pope

A step-by-step guide to the process for refugee entry into the U.S.

Friday, November 20, 2015
Amy Pope
U.S. Response

Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees has drawn criticism.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Thomas Kaplan and Wilson Andrews

In a <a href=" on Friday, 72 lawmakers said that the country could easily support the resettlement of as many as 100,000 refugees — a 10-fold increase from the White House’s plan.

Friday, September 11, 2015
Julian Hattem

A coalition of US faith-based and secular groups sent a <a href=" urging the Obama administration to welcome 100,000 refugees fleeing Syria war.

Friday, September 18, 2015
Philip Victor

Plan would no longer allow people who have traveled to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan since March 11 or held citizenship in one of the countries to enter the U.S. through an expedited process.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Siobhan Hughes

Tapping into heightened security fears after the Paris terrorist attacks, House Republicans — joined by many Democrats — rebuffed President Obama and overwhelmingly approved legislation that would in effect halt the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the U.S.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Lisa Mascaro

More than half the nation's governors say they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states, although the final say on this contentious immigration issue will fall to the federal government.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Ashley Fantz and Ben Brumfield

Americans, by 60% to 37%, oppose plans for the U.S. to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees who are trying to escape the civil war in their country.

Monday, November 23, 2015
Jeffrey Jones

Over the decades, the American public generally hasn’t welcomed refugees.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Drew Desilver
Refugees in U.S.

In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the United States resettled 69,933 refugees and in FY 2013 (the most recent data available) granted asylum status to 25,199 people.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova
Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Office of Refugee Resettlement

Refugee admissions and resettlement in the U.S.—background, allocations, and processes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Andorra Bruno
Syrian Immigrants

Approximately 86,000 Syrian immigrants resided in the United States in 2014, accounting for 0.2 percent of the nation's 42.4 million immigrants.

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Jie Zong

Some 102,313 Syrians were granted admission to the U.S. as legal permanent residents or through programs including work, study and tourist visas from 2012 through August of this year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Joseph Kolb
EU Response

Hailed as Mama Merkel for her September decision to open borders and let Syrian refugees in, she is now implementing measures to stem the overwhelming influx of refugees and asylum seekers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Natalie Ilsley

Man is suspected of running money-transfer operation for terror group.

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Andrea Thomas and Mohammad Nour Alakraa

Vast numbers of migrants have made their way across the Mediterranean to Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries struggle to cope with the influx, and creating division in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
BBC News