(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), just back from the Greek Isle of Lesbos where thousands of Syrian refugees arrive by raft from Turkey every day, urged the Obama administation to accept far more than the 10,000 Syrian refugees it plans to take in this fiscal year.
"The United States leads the world in financial assistance for the Syrian refugee effort. But we have a moral obligation to do that and more," Durbin said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.
"I call on the administration to accept 100,000 Syrian refugees," Durbin said.
"Allow me to put the 100,000 number in perspective. Germany has agreed to accept 800,000 of these Syrian refugees. It's estimated there are about 4 million total.
The United States accepted 750,000 Vietnamese refugees; over 500,000 Cuban refugees after the Castro regime took over. Those Cuban refugees included the fathers of two sitting United States senators, one of whom (Marco Rubio) is running for president of the United States.
"We accepted over 200,000 Soviet Jews who were being persecuted in that country. "We've accepted refugees from Somalia and from different places around the world, such as Bosnia. We've assimilated them into America, and we can do it again."
Dubrin said all refugees are carefully vetted "to make sure that they're not a threat to the United States or anybody who lives here."
Durbin said the stories of the refugees he met are "heartbreaking."
"They're fleeing with their children, and whatever they can carry. Their destinations, uncertain -- but they know they can't stay in the camps or in Syria.
"They are the victims of smugglers and the victims of exploitation."
Durbin said despite Greece's economic hardship, he is "impressed with how the Greek people are handling this refugee crisis: Processing registration centers have been established, and many (refugees) are quickly on the way to resettlement in Europe."
Durbin said he will be a strong advocate for humanitarian safe zones in Syria, so the people there can have a safe place to be treated for their illnesses and to at least live until this war comes to an end."