Over the past four years, the brutal civil war in Syria has resulted in over 4 million refugees and one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. Earlier this month, the photograph of a drowned 3-year-old asylum seeking boy pricked the consciousness of the world, highlighting the collective failure of the global community in addressing the crisis.
On September 20th, Secretary Kerry announced the U.S. will increase the number of global refugees it will accept annually from 70,000 to 100,000 by 2017. The U.S. has also donated $4.5 billion in urgently needed humanitarian aid. These are significant contributions, but the gravity and scale of the crisis demands doing much more - and doing it with greater urgently. Germany, by comparison, has agreed to accept as many as 800,000 refugees this year alone, while Canada has agreed to resettle 10,000 this year in an expedited process.
Over the past four years, the U.S. has settled just over 1,500 Syrian refugees. This level of response is unconscionable and fails to live up to the values we hold as a nation. Given the scale of the crisis, the U.S. pledge of 100,000 over two years remains incremental at a time when much more is needed. The U.S. must open its doors wider and find ways to further expedite the processing of refugee applications.
Act now - Contact your member of Congress and urge them to support increased refugee resettlement and funding for migration and refugee assistance programs in the coming year which are needed to ensure expedited processing.
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