US businesses pledge $650M in refugee relief

US businesses pledge $650M in refugee relief
© Getty Images
Fifty-one U.S. companies have pledged more than $650 million to aid the world’s refugees, the White House announced Tuesday ahead of a major summit on the refugee crisis at the United Nations. 
The commitment is part of President Obama’s push for international action to help the record population of refugees, which has been complicated by a string of terror attacks at home. 
The businesses — which include Uber, Twitter, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft and Western Union — are making contributions that will help 6.3 million refugees gain access to education, job opportunities and financial services. 
“A crisis of this scale requires more than government action,” the White House said in a statement. “President Obama challenged the U.S. private sector to draw on its unique expertise, resources and entrepreneurial spirit to help refugees. ... Their response is unprecedented.”
The announcement comes hours before Obama co-hosts a summit on refugees with leaders from Mexico, Sweden, Jordan, Ethiopia, Germany and Canada on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. 
Individual governments are expected to make pledges either to resettle more refugees to contribute more to humanitarian relief efforts.
It’s a final-year attempt by Obama to increase the U.S.’s involvement in the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, an area where human-rights advocates have long criticized his administration.
More than 65 million people have been driven from their homes, and 21 million have crossed international borders. Five million of those come from Syria, which has been torn apart by civil war.
The U.S. is accepting 10,000 refugees from Syria, and Obama wants the nation to accept 110,000 refugees from around the world next year.
That is a 30 percent increase from the total number the U.S. welcomed this year. 
Those concerns were heightened by a series of explosions in New York and New Jersey over the weekend as well as a stabbing spree at a Minnesota shopping mall. Dozens were injured in the incidents but no victims died.
Trump has called for a total ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. until security measures are tightened. The administration has said stringent vetting already exists; it takes 18 to 24 months to process a refugee’s application to resettle in the U.S.