On Monday, Aug. 29, the Obama Administration welcomed the 10,000th Syrian refugee to the United States, according to a statement released by the White House.
The goal of 10,000 resettled Syrian refugees was set last fall, and has been met more than one month before the target date of Oct. 1, 2016.
“On behalf of the President and his Administration, I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals, as well as the many other refugees resettled this year from all over the world,” National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice said in the Aug. 29 statement.
According to the U.S. State Department in 2015, President Obama raised the target of Syrian refugees who would be offered legal status to a minimum of 10,000. Many countries across Europe have felt pressure as well to admit more refugees as conflict continues in Syria and the number of registered Syrian refugees rises to 4.8 million, according to Amnesty International.
“By committing additional resources to our refugee admissions process and maintaining our rigorous screening process and commitment to the security of the American people, we have reached that goal (of 10,000 resettled refugees),” Secretary of State John Kerry said. “Since 1975, over 3.2 million refugees have joined the fabric of American society, each one making us a stronger, more pluralistic society.”
Kerry went on to stress the importance of continuing the admission and aide of refugees.
“More has to be done to resolve this brutal conflict that has cost far too many lives and forced far too many people from their homes,” Kerry said.
Here at Harding, students also see the need for the resettlement of Syrian refugees, according to junior political science major William Jackson.
“I think we should accept as many as we can,” Jackson said. “This ongoing war on terrorism, I think, is really a war of ideologies.”
Jackson said he does not see the entrance of refugees as a threat, but rather a way to show compassion and give the world a positive image of the West, particularly the United States.
“I would caution against making U.S. policy based on fear, because what does that say about our beliefs?” Jackson said.
When President Obama decided to raise the objective to 10,000, he knew the message it would send to the people of Syria and various interational communities, according to Rice. Although the objective has been met, Rice said the Obama Administration will continue its work on this crisis.
“In late September, world leaders will gather at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly,” Rice said. “There, President Obama will convene a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, highlighting the continued leadership of the United States on humanitarian issues and the significant contributions partner countries have made this year.”