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US reaches halfway mark in goal of accepting 10,000 refugees

Posted July 24

The United States has accepted 5,211 Syrian refugees as of June 12, reaching the halfway mark of President Barack Obama’s goal to accept 10,000 by Sept. 30.

According to data released by the U.S. Department of State Tuesday, the U.S. accepted 2,406 Syrian refugees in June bringing the number just above the halfway mark nine months into the fiscal year.

As reported by The Atlantic, the 10,000 refugees the U.S. has agreed to help represents about .2 percent of the 4.8 million people displaced from their homes in Syria. And in the 2015 fiscal year, the U.S. admitted 70,000 refugees, of which 1,500 were Syrian.

In a speech Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry promised the 10,000 refugee goal will be met in time.

"More needs to be done to help those who are besieged inside Syria; more has to be done to assist refugees; more has to be done to support Syria’s neighbors, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey; and more to resolve this brutal conflict that has cost far too many lives and forced far too many people from their homes," Kerry said.

The U.S. will need to accept 4,789 Syrian refugees to meet its September goal, and not everyone is convinced the Obama administration will make it.

In a statement released shortly after the Department of State's data, Human Rights First said the increase in rate of refugees being accepted doesn't indicate it's any easier for refugees to enter the country, urging the president to "address the delays and efficiency gaps that have undermined its ability to bring refugees to safety in the United States."

"The Obama administration has made progress in addressing some of the backlogs and delays that have hampered its ability to resettle refugees, but with three months left in the fiscal year, it is still far from meeting its goal of resettling at least 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year," said Human Rights First Senior Director of Refugee Protections Eleanor Acer.

As The Atlantic previously reported, refugees can wait up to 24 months for their application to be processed. They can be denied based on health, criminal activity and more.

Kerry also announced Tuesday the U.S. will provide nearly $439 million more in humanitarian assistance to those in Syria, bringing the total amount of money provided since the start of the crisis to about $5.6 billion.

Email: sweber@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @sarapweber

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