State Dept: US ‘Reaffirmed Its Commitment to Resettle At Least 10,000 Syrians’

By Barbara Hollingsworth | March 30, 2016 | 12:46pm EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry with Heather Higginbotton shortly before she was sworn in as deputy secretary. (US State Dept.)


( – The Obama administration has “reaffirmed its commitment to resettle at least 10,000 Syrians” in the U.S. in FY2016, a top State Department official announced Wednesday.

Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom also confirmed that the U.S. has “pledged an additional $10 million” for identifying and resettling Syrians and other refugees at a meeting of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The magnitude of this particular crisis shows us unmistakably that it cannot be business as usual, leaving the greatest burden to be carried by the countries closest to the conflict,” UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi told representatives of 92 nations attending the meeting.

The U.S. is on board with UNHCR’s goal of resettling a total of 100,000 Syrian refugees out of an estimated 4.8 million by the end of FY2017, “an increase of over 40 percent since FY2015 - while maintaining a robust security screening protocol,” according to the State Department.

The department also announced a new program “to allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to file refugee applications for their Syrian family members.”

However, FBI Director James Comey told the House Homeland Security Committee last October that the U.S. has “no basis” on which to vet Syrian refugees who “never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database.” reported Tuesday that a total of 916 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the U.S. since the Nov. 13, 2015 terror attacks in Paris, France. Two of the terrorists were carrying fake Syrian passports, according to French authorities.

More than 700,000 Syrian Christians have had to flee for their lives since 2011, according to the European Parliament.

Syrian refugees. (AP photo)

But only four (0.4 percent) of the Syrian refugees who have been resettled in the U.S. are Christians who have been targeted for genocide by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In contrast, 890 Sunni Muslims (97.2 percent) three Shiites (0.4 percent) and 18 others identified only as “Moslems” (1.9 percent) were relocated in the U.S. after the Paris attacks.

“The United States encourages other countries to consider expanding resettlement and other forms of admissions for all refugee populations, ensuring that more of those in need have the opportunity to start their lives anew in safety and with dignity,” the State Department stated.

According to UNHCR, as of March 18, a total of 30 mostly European nations have agreed to resettle 179,147 Syrian refugees. Germany pledged to take in 41,899 refugees, including 21,832 privately sponsored, followed by Canada (38,089) and the United Kingdom (20,000).

No Arab states are on that list. 

Related: Syrian Refugees Admitted to U.S. Since Paris Attacks: 911 Muslims, 4 Christians

Related: House Bill Would Allow States, Localities to Refuse Refugee Resettlement

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