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 DurbinSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility House panel investigating decision to resume federal executions To combat domestic terrorism, Congress must equip law enforcement to fight rise in white supremacist attacks MORE (Ill.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Defense: Two US service members killed in Afghanistan | Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS | Pentagon scraps billion-dollar missile defense program ABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill 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 TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE standing by his call to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants to the U.S. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE (I-Vt.) is a signatory of the letter. 

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