Refugees are fleeing Syria’s brutal civil war by the millions, creating one of the world’s biggest refugee crises since World War II. The United States has pledged to help those who have been displaced, but it is not nearly enough.
Since the start of the war in 2011, the United States has taken in only 1,500 refugees.
Recently, President Barack Obama has committed to accepting 10,000 more over the coming year, but that number pales in comparison to the efforts of other nations.
More than 4 million people – about half of Syria’s population – have fled the fighting in Syria since 2011 and most are living in camps in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq, according to Reuters.
So far, Germany has taken in approximately 100,000 Syrian refugees and Sweden has accepted more than 50,000. Countries bordering Syria have carried an even bigger burden as Turkey has taken in roughly 1.9 million refugees and Lebanon has accepted 1.1 million.
Why is it that these smaller countries can open their doors to take in such large numbers of these refugees, but the United States puts a cap down at a mere 11,500?
And why isn’t America putting political and financial pressure on Hungary to do its part as well instead of forcibly closing its borders to asylum seekers?
The United States has inflicted damage on the Middle East after the chaos surrounding the war in Iraq spilled over into neighboring countries. The Americans have also been at the forefront of fighting ISIS, one of the groups that has moved in to further destabilize the country.
So if anyone has an obligation to help relocate these people, it would be us. The United States should be leading the efforts to provide relief for the refugees.
As Obama approaches the end of his presidency, this is his chance to create a legacy of sanctuary and asylum, not a legacy of leaving vulnerable refugees behind.