International humanitarian agency says gradual increase is still not enough given Syrian crisis
WASHINGTON – Church World Service, one of the nine refugee resettlement agencies in the United States, applauded the Obama administration’s weekend announcement to increase annual refugee resettlement numbers over the next two years. But the humanitarian agency continued its call for 100,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled above the annual number.
On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry committed to increasing the numbers of refugees the U.S. will resettle from 70,000 this past year to 85,000 in fiscal year 2016 and 100,000 in 2017.
“While we appreciate the Obama administration recognizing the need to increase refugee resettlement, its newly announced numbers still do not match the magnitude of the current global refugee crisis,” CWS Immigration and Refugee Program Executive Director, Erol Kekic said. “Germany has agreed to welcome 1 million Syrians, which in proportion to each country’s population, would be the equivalent of the United States accepting 3 million Syrian refugees. We stand firm in demanding that our political leaders demonstrate leadership and inspire the hospitality of all nations.”
Representing 37 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox denominations and communions, CWS has joined with partner international and refugee resettlement organizations to urge the United States to accept 200,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2016, including at least 100,000 Syrians.
“This is just the first step our nation must take to live up to its legacy of leadership,” CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John L. McCullough said. “As we face the greatest number of displaced people since the end of World War II, the United States must work to increase the number of refugees resettled in the United States. We’ve done this before when faced with refugee crises after the violence in Kosovo and the fall of Saigon. With the tremendous community support already seen for Syrian refugees, we can do it again. The CWS network is ready, willing and able to resettle at least 200,000 refugees in the coming year, including 100,000 Syrians in dire need of support.”
Since 1946, CWS has supported refugees and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty.