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:
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.