The United States will increase the number of Syrian refugees that it plans to accept this year and in 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.
“I’m pleased to announce today that the United States will significantly increase our numbers for refugee resettlement in the course of this next year and the year after. Last year I think we were at 70,000. We are now going to go up to 85,000 with at least, and I underscore the “at least” – it is not a ceiling, it’s a floor – of 10,000 over the next year from Syria specifically even as we also receive more refugees from other areas. And in the next fiscal year, we’ll target 100,000, and if it’s possible to do more, we’ll do,” Kerry said.
Kerry made the announcement while speaking at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin, Germany.
Speaking to the aspects of accepting the refugees, Kerry acknowledged that, “One of the reasons it’s difficult is that post-9/11, we have new laws and new requirements with respect to security background checks and vetting, so it takes longer than one would like and we cannot cut corners with respect to those security requirements.”
Nevertheless, Kerry said Sunday’s announcement, “is in keeping with the best tradition of America as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope, and it will be accompanied by additional financial contributions to the humanitarian effort not only from our government but from the American people.”
Kerry said that further specifics will be released in the next few days.