The White House has unveiled plans to increase refugee admissions to 110,000 next year, amid a fraught US debate over the appropriate numbers to take in.
Ahead of a summit on the global refugee crisis at the United Nations next week, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said a goal has been set of admitting around 30 percent more refugees in the coming fiscal year.
That would include around 40,000 people from the near east and south Asia — a vast region that includes Syria.
Nearly five million Syrians have fled their country since war broke out in 2011, and the United States has committed to resettling 10,000 this year, an issue that has inflamed the 2016 presidential election race.
While offering the prospect of accepting more refugees, the White House was talking tough about security.
“It’s important for people to remember that individuals who admitted to the United States under this program have to undergo more rigorous screening and vetting than any other individual that enters the United States,” said Earnest.
“The president places our national security at the top of his priority list. And that certainly is true with regard to considering the admission of refugees to the United States.”
The United Nations on September 19 will host the first summit on refugees and migrants, which will be followed the next day by a pledging conference for new offers of aid to refugees hosted by Obama.