The Obama Administration plans to increase the number of refugees admitted to the United States by 30 percent in fiscal year 2017. The decision seems designed to boost Mr. Obama’s hand for next week, when he is scheduled to host a summit on the sideline of the U.N. General Assembly, pressing international leaders for action on a global refugee crisis.
At home, however, his refugee target is likely to arouse opposition, due to citizens’ concerns that it is not always possible to vet refugees from countries in havoc and due to terrorist networks’ having inserted operatives into the refugee stream.
“The common-sense concerns of the American people are simply ignored as the administration expands its reckless and extreme policies,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration.
Polling suggests the public leans in favor of accepting refugees as long as there is good screening to weed out potential security risks, though at levels far below what Mr. Obama is proposing. A Brookings Institution survey carried out in May about how many refugees the U.S. should resettle in 2017, the median answer among Democrats was 15,000, and the median answer among Republicans was just 10,000.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry delivered the administration’s target for fiscal year 2017 as being 110,000 refugees, up from the 85,000 goal in 2016 and 70,000 in 2015.
So far, no target has been set for Syrians — the most controversial population of refugees — but the administration said it expects a significantly higher number of 30,000 for resettlement over the next 12 months.