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U.S. could take in thousands of Syrian refugees

According to reports, the Obama Administration is considering taking in Syrian refugees after a civil war has raged on in that country for two years. Obama and other world leaders are reportedly working on a resettlement plan for the 1.6 million refugees who have fled Syria. It is possible that thousands of Syrians could be granted asylum in the United States under the plan.

Apparently, the resettlement plan is in response to other Middle Eastern countries that have said that they are having trouble supporting the Syrian families that have crossed into their borders. An official with the U.S. State Department reportedly said that the department is "ready to consider the idea" of accepting Syrian refugees into the United States if it receives a formal request from the United Nations.

Typically, the United States agrees to accept about half of the refugees that the United Nations proposes for resettlement, and the decisions are often based on political reasoning. The White House has openly expressed support for the Syrian rebels that are trying to oust the current leaders, but President Obama has said he is reluctant to get and further involved than that.

Many members of Congress have also expressed hesitation to get deeper involved in the Syrian conflict, and Congress strongly resisted requests to accept Iraqi refugees following the 2003 invasion of that country. Even so, President Obama's new national security advisor and his nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations are both champions for refugees, so that could have an influence on the decision regarding the Syrian refugees.

Under current U.S. immigration law, any foreign citizen with refugee status may migrate to the United States to escape persecution by their government or by a quasi-political, religious or ethnic group in their home country. However, the situation gets complex when there are millions of refugees who need a place to go for safety.

Source: Imperial Valley Press, "U.S. considers taking in Syrian refugees," Paul Richter, June 9, 2013

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