The White House will prepare to settle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the upcoming fiscal year as many members of Capitol Hill grapple with how to manage a crisis that has left 4 million Syrians displaced.
In the press briefing Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest announced that President Obama has informed his team he would like to “scale up” U.S. efforts to take in refugees from Syria, a move that will alarm Republicans on Capitol Hill who fear that accepting refugees from the country could pose a security risk.
“It’s a humanitarian crisis that calls out for problem solving and solution, but I want to have information that makes sure that we are not inadvertently bringing in people who intend to do us harm,” says Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker.
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas says he also has concerns that raising the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the United States will have unintended consequences.
“The problem with addressing this in that kind of way is that you encourage much more to come,” Roberts says.
Obama must make his determination on refugees by Sept. 30, when his new proclamation is due. Secretary of State John Kerry was dispatched to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to discuss the target numbers with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.