Officials: US to increase number of refugees by 5K next year
Officials say the United States is prepared to increase the number of refugees it resettles by 5,000 next year as European countries struggle to accommodate tens of thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
Two officials and a congressional aide said that Secretary of State John Kerry told members of Congress in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill Wednesday that the United States will boost its worldwide quota for resettling refugees from 70,000 to 75,000 next year. A fraction of those refugees would be from Syria.
Kerry said after the meeting that the United States would increase the number of refugees it is willing to take in but did not give a specific number.
The officials and the congressional aide spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private meeting on the record.
Shortly after Kerry’s meeting, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went to the Senate floor to urge stronger leadership from President Barack Obama on stemming violence in the Middle East and North Africa.
He stood next to an enlarged, close-up photo of the dead body of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy who drowned along with his 5-year-old brother and mother when their small rubber boat capsized as it headed for Greece.
"This image has haunted the world," McCain said. "But what should haunt us even more than the horror unfolding before our eyes is the thought that the United States will continue to do nothing meaningful about it."