US to Take in More Refugees amid Migrant Crisis
Many Americans have been following the refugee crisis in Europe. Now President Barack Obama wants to bring some of those refugees to the United States.
The United Nations says close to a million migrants from Africa and the Middle East are expected to enter Europe by the end of next year, and the White House says some of them will be coming here.
America's worldwide annual refugee quota is 70,000. Now there is pressure from Europe to raise that number considerably.
"No decisions have been made about future resettlement going past this fiscal year. But I do think it's reasonable to expect, to assume that there will be additional resettlements going into next year," State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing in London. "What that's going to look like, how many, I don't have a number for you."
On Wednesday, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker announced a plan to distribute 160,000 migrants and refugees across 22 nations in Europe. He stressed it was wrong to be concerned that the refugees were mostly Muslim.
"There is no religion, there is no belief, there is no philosophy when it comes to refugees and to those who are fleeing," Juncker said to loud applause.
Meanwhile, Ali Hassan, a Syrian refugee who fled to Turkey, is hoping to reach Greece.
"The danger in Syria is also big because there is war," Hassan said. "In Turkey, we cannot find a job. A quick death is better than a slow one because if we die at sea, we will die quickly."
But what is very disturbing to some observers is that, according to the UN, 72 percent of the migrants entering Europe are male. Refugees typically move as families. Terrorism experts have warned that ISIS has a plan to send fighters to Europe.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House House Homeland Security Committee, said the White House has "a responsibility...to protect the American people and our country."
"Terrorists have exploited the refugee process to sneak into our country in the past, and officials have warned my committee that we lack the on-the-ground intelligence in Syria needed to confidently vet individuals for resettlement," McCaul said.
This surge has reminded some of a well-known French novel from the 1970s, The Camp of the Saints (Le Camp Des Saints), praised by some as brilliant and panned by others as xenophobic.
The novel predicted that Europe would fall when Africans and Asians flooded the continent, and Europeans no longer had the will to exist or maintain their own identities.
Today's refugee surge has not reached that level, but it is a crisis that many critics warn will certainly change Europe -- and could change America.