The United States looks on its way to reaching its target of taking in 10,000 Syrian war refugees in the 2016 fiscal year this week, according to the U.S. ambassador to Jordan. That means the program to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States is well ahead of schedule considering President Obama announced last fall his administration’s goal was to resettle 10,000 refugees by the end of September.
News of the 10,000th arrival is bound to once again spark controversy about an issue that has made its way to the presidential campaign as Donald Trump and some of his allies have alleged the refugees could be a potential security threat. Administration officials strongly dispute the characterization of refugees as potentially dangerous to national security. “Refugees are the most thoroughly screened category of travelers to the United States, and Syrian refugees are subject to even greater scrutiny,” Alice Wells, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, said.
The arrival of the 10,000th Syrian refugee on Monday illustrates just how much the program has accelerated in recent months. As of March 31, only 1,285 Syrians had been admitted into the United States as part of the program but then things began to speed up due to a “quiet but intense push by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, with substantial prodding from the White House,” reported the New York Times earlier this month.
An estimated 5 million Syrians have fled the country’s devastating civil war since 2011.