The humanitarian crisis in Europe has not caught the attention of many in America, but that may soon change. Tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war torn Syria have descended on Western Europe causing unheard of chaos as countries scramble to find a place for the tide of humanity. Germany has been the desired destination for the refugees because of its social services and access to other European countries but many Germans are becoming increasingly opposed to more refugees coming into the country citing economic, cultural and religious concerns. The German government has accepted 450K refugees and are expecting another 800K more to attempt to enter the country. Other countries from Hungary to Greece are bursting with thousands more trying to get deeper into industrialized countries such as France and Great Britain.
Because of the international crisis, President Obama has announced that the United States will accept 10K refugees for resettlement. This figure is up from the initial 2K Syrian refugees that the US initially said it would accept. Not surprisingly, this has turned into a big political issue for many republican lawmakers in Congress. Rep. Peter King (NY) stated, “Our enemy now is Islamic terrorism and these people are coming from and these people are coming from a country filled with Islamic terrorists. We don’t want another Boston Marathon bombing situation.” King’s statement references the tragic April 2013 attack by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, which killed three spectators and injured another 260. The brothers were refugees from Kyrgyzstan who had lived in the United States for well over 10 years with their family but sympathized with Islamic terrorists groups like Al-Qaeda.
But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest counters such claims by stating that refugees attempting to enter the US go through a rigorous screening process that includes screening by the National Counter Terrorism Center, FBI and Homeland Security. Earnest went on to state that biographical and biometric data is collected on each person attempting entry. Last year, the United States accepted a little more than 69,000 refugees from various countries. Refugees are able to receive social services such as food stamps and other welfare benefits because of their status in the US. Despite the humanitarian effort of the Obama administration to deal with the crisis, republicans continue to blame the Obama for the crisis. Sen. John McCain has stated that President Obama should have authorized military action against Syria to bring down the regime of Syrian President Assad.
But a group of 14 democrats in Congress feel that President Obama has not gone far enough in accepting 10K refugees and are calling on him to accept 65,000. More than seven million Syrians have been displaced by the war in Syria and like it or not the US will more than likely be taking in more as the situation unfolds.