U.S. pledges to boost number of refugees resettled

The United States will resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees as part of its annual global number. (© AP Images)

Already the leading nation for refugee resettlement, the United States will significantly increase its effort this year and next.

Speaking in Germany on September 20, Secretary of State John Kerry announced plans to resettle 85,000 refugees in fiscal year 2016 and 100,000 more in fiscal year 2017. The U.S. announced earlier in September that it will resettle at least 10,000 refugees from Syria as part of that global number.

“Traditionally we are a nation that has always been a haven for those seeking freedom from persecution, from hunger, from oppression, from war,” Kerry said. The U.S. has a long history of resettling refugees, with over 3 million starting new lives in America since 1975.

“We are the largest single program in the world in refugee resettlement on an ongoing basis,” the secretary said.

While in Germany, Kerry met with Syrian refugees who urged the U.S. and other countries to find a political solution to the conflict in their country.

Following an announcement on September 21 of nearly $419 million in additional humanitarian assistance, the U.S. has now contributed over $4.15 billion to humanitarian relief efforts since the Syrian conflict began in 2011 — more than any other donor. U.N. aid appeals remain over 60 percent underfunded, and the U.S. continues to advocate for more relief from around the world.

“Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, we’re proud that we’ve been able to provide more money for shelter, for food, for medicine,” Kerry said.

“But this step that I am announcing today I believe is in keeping with the best tradition of America as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope, and it will be accompanied by additional financial contributions to the humanitarian effort not only from our government but from the American people,” he said.