Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Team Obama ramps up our Syrian refugee intake

From the State Department daily briefing, September 4, 2014:
But in general, I think we should make the point about refugees here, that the United States resettles more refugees than the rest of the world combined, period. And I think our commitment to helping with resettlement of refugees is an important one that we take very seriously. 
So taking it broader, obviously I can’t comment on the specific visa case. This is a commitment we take very seriously. The UNHCR just this year started referring Syrian refugees to the United States for processing. There are several thousand in process right now. It does take some time, given that it is, again, a process. But this is something we’re very committed to doing. 
QUESTION: Do you know how many they have referred and how many are in process? 
MS. HARF: Yes. Well, I think all that they’ve referred, I think, are in the pipeline. There’s several thousand Syrian nationals in the pipeline at the moment. I don’t have a more specific number than that. 
QUESTION: But so far in 2014, U.S. admitted only 63 Syrian refugees. 
MS. HARF: Since Fiscal Year 2011, we’ve resettled 166 Syrian individuals. But again, part of this is because the UNHCR only began this year in mid-2014 referring refugees in large numbers to the United States. That’s a process that we’re a part of, so I can expect, obviously, we have several thousand in the pipeline, and that number will continue to go up.

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