By Julian Pecquet - 01/06/14 07:13 PM EST
The Senate on Tuesday will examine whether the U.S. should welcome more Syrians as refugees amid growing criticism that the country isn't doing enough.
The Senate judiciary panel on human rights is holding a hearing Tuesday on the “Syrian refugee crisis” as the civil war approaches its third year. Top administration officials handling refugee policy are scheduled to testify.
Leahy added that his committee will decide whether admission standards for Syrians need to be reviewed based on the hearing, which will be chaired by subpanel chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
“That's why we have hearings — to decide what we're going to do,” he said. “I usually have the hearing first, then decide what legislation to have.”
The administration says it has done its part by offering $1.4 billion in humanitarian aid — more than any other country — but some human-rights groups say it needs to allow more Syrians into the U.S. by relaxing refugee standards, which require that applicants show that they're being discriminated against based on criteria such as their religion or political beliefs.
Witnesses scheduled to testify include Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard; Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Policy Molly Groom; and Nancy Lindborg, the assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.
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