The 10,00oth Syrian refugee will reach American soil on Monday, as the White House expects to resettle the immigrants fleeing their war-torn nation by October 1.
According to National Security Adviser Susan Rice, the 10,000th refugees have reached the country “ahead of schedule.” Rice stated that President Obama’s decision to allow Syrian refugees to reach the U.S. sends a message of humanitarianism to the whole international community and the people of Syria, who have fought and fled a bloody civil war since 2011.
The worst refugee crisis since WWII
Politicians and NGO representatives asserted the fact that this is just the beginning of the immigration crisis spurred by the conflicts in Syria and the Middle East. The US leadership must now seek to accommodate the families and to establish mechanisms so they can integrate into the American workforce while exercising their human rights.
But allowing thousands of refugees to enter the country carries over an important inherent security threat, as it is not always possible to completely survey the whole life of each one of the 10,000 refugees. Donald Trump has criticized Obama’s complacency with allowing refugees to enter the U.S., as ISIS will benefit from the state’s openness in allowing individuals coming directly from the source of conflict.
Conversely, Ambassador Wells stated that the government has a great deal of commitment to protecting civilians while allowing refugees to enter the country. The United States has provided at least $5.6 billion to relief efforts for the war in Syria. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has stated the government’s disposition in allowing 85,000 Syrian refugees to enter the country. In 2015, the U.S. admitted 70,000 refugees.
Although the U.S. is making a great effort to provide relief for Syrian refugees, Europe is bearing the greater weight of the matter. Most European nations have had to reconfigure their asylum policies and migratory procedures. Germany, for example, is the most sought-after country for refugees coming from Africa and the Middle East, and it has allowed over half a million Syrian refugees as of 2015.
Germany now partially closed its borders after a significant open-door legislation that allowed the entrance of migrants seeking refuge. Many nations including France, Germany, and even Australia vowed to admit tens of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees to provide humanitarian support to a crisis that is still years from solving itself completely.
Other countries have opted for the complete opposite. For instance, Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, announced that there are plans for building a massive razor wire fence along the Hungarian borders contacting Croatia and Serbia, to reduce intrusion from immigrants. Orban has taken steps into a conservative immigration policy, calling migrants “poison” and proposing the use of force to keep migrants out of Hungary.
Which is the U.S. role in the immigration crisis?
In the U.S., over half of Democrats support the admission of Syrian refugees, while only 18 percent of Republicans stand for the issue as time progresses. Although Trump and most Republicans are fiercely against the immigration of Syrian people, addressing matters of national security, the U.S. has already taken under its wing thousands of immigrants fleeing from their countries.
The number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. is determined by Congress. With each fiscal year, the president selects some refugees to be accepted from different regions around the globe. The current ceiling is at 85,000 worldwide refugees for 2016’s fiscal year, which includes 10,000 Syrians.
Until 2014, Iraq was the country that produced the largest number of refugees, but the rate dropped in 2015 and Syria took its place. Concernedly, both countries are immersed in a complex civil war with different belligerents and international interests, all under the constant threat of terrorism.
How can refugees reach the U.S?
Refugees are referred to the U.S. by the United Nations Refugee Agency to undergo screening and to determine their eligibility. It takes 18 to 24 months for a Syrian to be vetted by the State Department. As of 2015, the largest populations of refugees were being resettled in Texas and California, which hosted 7,000 and 5,000 refugees respectively.
Every refugee must apply for permanent residency after admittance, or in other words, getting a green card. The process is enabled after one year of residence in the United States. Lawful permanent residents can study in schools, join the military, travel without a visa, own a residence, and apply for citizenship after five years.
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, each case is identified, and its circumstances analyzed for the subject to be admitted as a refugee. They undergo strict background revisions performed by intelligence agencies, including the FBI. After being admitted, they must undergo medical tests and cultural orientation, and then they must contact the International Organization for Migration which will devise the refugee’s transport to the U.S.