It’s official. The presidential determination on refugee admissions for the United States for FY2016 is a maximum of 85,000 refugees worldwide. This represents an uptick of only 15,000 refugees overall, with a commitment to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees.  Below is a comparison of FY2016 to FY2015 refugee allocations by region:

                                                        FY2016           FY2015

Africa                                            25,000             17,000

East Asia                                      13,000             13,000

Europe and Central Asia         4,000               1,000

Latin America/Caribbean        3,000               4,000

Near East/South Asia              34,000             33,000

Unallocated Reserve                  6,000              2,000


The 15,000 increase is shameful. The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since World War II, with an estimated 60 million people currently forcibly displaced from their homes due to war, civil conflict, and persecution. The civil war in Syria alone has forced over four million Syrians to flee horrific violence as refugees into neighboring countries. The U.S. refugee admissions numbers just announced for FY2016 not only represent a mere minimal increase from FY2015 and FY2014, but also do not meaningfully contribute to addressing the dire global need to provide refuge to the Syrians. The United States’ FY2016 commitment to providing refuge also lacks the kind of leadership that will prompt other countries to increase their commitments to take in more refugees. We have the capacity to do more.