Dems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees

Dems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees
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A group of 27 Democratic senators on Wednesday called on President Obama to fulfill his commitment to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. by October. 

The lawmakers say the administration has so far only admitted 1,736 Syrian refugees, out of the 10,000 pledged.  

"To fulfill the commitment you announced last year, at least 8,264 Syrian refugees would need to be admitted during the remaining five months of the fiscal year," said the group, led by Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDems to challenge Kavanaugh for White House records 2020 hopefuls skeptical of criminal justice deal with Trump Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies MORE (Ill.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHillicon Valley: Trump escalates feud with intel critics | Tesla shares fall after troubling Musk interview | House panel considers subpoena for Twitter's Jack Dorsey | Why Turkish citizens are breaking their iPhones The Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Tina Smith defeats former Bush ethics lawyer in Minnesota Dem primary MORE (Minn.), in a letter to the president.  

"We would appreciate an update on specific measures your Administration plans to take to fulfill its stated commitment to resettle the additional Syrian refugees by the end of September 2016," they added. 

The State Department launched a surge operation in Amman, Jordan, earlier this year to increase the pace of interviews of potential refugees. 

Staff interviewed about 12,000 refugee applicants between February and April, a department spokesperson told The Hill earlier this month. 

"Not all of the applicants approved by [the Department of Homeland Security] during the February-April period will be admitted to the United States in FY 2016. Some will be admitted in FY 2017," the spokesperson, who requested anonymity, said.

The plan's critics argue it could endanger U.S. national security, allowing terrorists to sneak through. 

But supporters of the president's plan point out that other nations have taken many times more refugees fleeing the five-year-old Syrian civil war that has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and more than 4.8 millions displaced. 

The issue of Syrian refugees has roiled the 2016 presidential campaign, with GOP candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE standing by his call to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants to the U.S. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems RealClearPolitics editor: Moderate Democrats are losing even when they win Sanders tests his brand in Florida MORE (I-Vt.) is a signatory of the letter. 

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