On Thursday, press secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing that President Obama had ordered his administration to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States in the next fiscal year. Syria has endured a bloody civil war since 2011, and the country has more than 4 million refugees, according to the U.N.; millions more have been displaced from their homes by the crisis.
"The United States, at the direction of the president of the United States, has played a leading role in addressing the dire humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and North Africa, and the best evidence I can direct you toward is the $4 billion in financial assistance the United States has provided to relief agencies and others who are trying to meet the humanitarian needs of those who are fleeing violence in Syria," Earnest said. "That's an example of the United States leading the way."
"One thing the United States can do is to begin to admit more Syrian refugees into the United States. This year ... the United States is on track to take in about 15,000 Syrian refugees. The president has directed his to scale up that number," Earnest continued. "He's informed his team that he would like them to accept, at least make preparations to accept, at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year. We know the scale of this problem. It's significant."
Frustration over the plight of refugees have reached fever pitch in the last week, spurred in part by the shocking photo of a drowned Syrian boy who died trying to flee the war-town country.