The White House announced Thursday that the United States will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming 12 months. That is a good thing, but far from enough.
The Syrian civil war has already resulted in 4 million displaced persons and more are on the way. They have to find new homes, and the United States should be open to taking more of them.
Germany expects as many as 800,000 migrants to Europe from the turmoil in the Middle East this year and plans to accept 500,000, mainly from Syria. It expects a like number next year and beyond. The European Union executive has announced mandatory plans to settle 160,000 in other European nations.
In the past year the United States admitted only 1,600 Syrian refugees.
Even Donald Trump found this inadequate. Acknowledging that some immigrants might pose a security risk because Islamic State and al-Qaida might take advantage to infiltrate agents, the Republican presidential front-runner nevertheless told Fox News that the “unbelievable humanitarian problem” mandated accepting more Syrian refugees.
“I hate the concept of it,” said Mr. Trump, who has made uncontrolled immigration his central campaign issue, “but on a humanitarian basis, with what’s happening, you have to.”
The International Rescue Committee, which traces its history to an organization headed by Albert Einstein to help refugees from Hitler’s Germany, agrees that the United States is not doing enough.
According to David Milliband, former foreign secretary of the United Kingdom and current head of the IRC, “The U.S. has historically been the world leader in recognizing the moral obligation to resettle refugees.
“But in the four years of the Syria crisis, there has been inertia rather than leadership.”
The IRC has called on Washington to admit 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next year, a position that has gained some support in Congress where there is a growing recognition that inaction by the United States has contributed to the chaos in Syria.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was quoted by The Washington Post as saying on Wednesday that “there’s no question that the inaction by the administration in 2013 has hugely multiplied the disaster that’s taking place. And therefore the United States has some degree of responsibility here.”
The White House decision to accept only 10,000 of the 4 million Syrians uprooted by the civil war is inadequate to the nation’s moral obligation.