Tech giants sign on to White House push for refugee aid

Tech giants sign on to White House push for refugee aid
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A slate of technology giants and other corporations signed on to a White House push to encourage other companies to help provide support to the millions of refugees around the world. 

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The public call to action urges businesses in the private sector to make commitments to provide educational tools, employment opportunities and other aid to refugees from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

Tech companies that signed on include Airbnb, Coursera, Google, HP, IBM, LinkedIn, Microsoft and TripAdvisor. The group also included a number of large banks and other companies, such as Accenture, Chobani, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, MasterCard, UPS and Western Union. 

All those companies have already made past commitments, such as Airbnb’s decision to provide travel credits to some relief organizations or Google’s spending to provide cheap Wi-Fi and charging kits at refugee camps. 

The White House said there are more than 21 million refugees around the globe who have crossed international borders. The issue was the center of a heated debate in Washington, D.C., in late 2015 and early 2016 as the White House decided to raise the cap on the amount of refugees it takes into the country each year. 

President Obama is holding a summit on refugees in September that is aiming to raise $3 billion more a year in aid, among other things. 

The White House has set a cap of 85,000 this fiscal year for refugees admitted to the country, a 15,000 increase from last year. About 10,000 of those would come from Syria, where a civil war has allowed the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to gain footing. 

The Obama administration wants the overall number to rise to 100,000 in 2017. 

During last year’s spending fight, Republicans pushed for stricter screening procedures in the wake of terrorist attacks. But a compromise was struck to include stricter requirements for the U.S. visa waiver program. 

According to State Department data, 41,424 refugees had been admitted into the United States this year as of the end of May. That included 2,805 from Syria.