The United States Has Taken in Only 17% of the Syrian Refugees It Pledged This Year

An attendee holds a sign during a press conference in Denver in November. An attendee holds a sign during a press conference in Denver in November. David Zalubowski/AP

Barack Obama pledged in September 2015 that the US would resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the fiscal year. But at the current glacial pace of the resettlement process, it doesn’t look like the administration will make the goal: So far, the US has taken in only 1,736 Syrian refugees, less than a fifth of the whole, The New York Times reported (paywall).

In comparison, since Canada announced its refugee resettlement program in November 2015, it has accepted more than 25, 000 people.

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In April, the US took in only 451 refugees, significantly falling behind the goal of 1,500 per month that the State Department hoped for. Many Republicans vehemently oppose resettlement, citing security concerns, but the main reason for the lag is an inefficient and understaffed system of vetting new arrivals, who sometimes wait years to come to America.

There are a staggering 4.8 million Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations, 39,000 of whom the organization has green-lighted to be resettled to the US.

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