The administration of US President Barack Obama is planning to increase by 30 percent the number of refugees that will be allowed into America next year, an official has revealed.
US Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress on Tuesday that the figure will be increased from 85,000 in 2016 to 110,000 in the 2017 fiscal year starting October 1, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
If finalized, the new figure would mark a 57-percent increase in refugee arrivals since 2015. Between 2013 and 2015, the number topped out at 70,000.
The last year that Washington committed to resettling refugees on a comparable scale was in 1995, when then-President Bill Clinton authorized 112,000 entries.
According to the Wall Street Journal, 40,000 of those refugees will be from the Near East/South Asia, which includes Syria.
African refugees would comprise the second-largest population of refugees at 35,000. This is while a total of 14,000 slots were not yet allocated.
The news comes only days after it was reported that Obama had delivered on his pledge to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.
Obama’s plan has also come under attack by his opponents, who have been warning of the implications for national security.
Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, was one of the attendees of the closed meeting and criticized the decision.
The “common-sense concerns of the American people are simply ignored as the administration expands its reckless and extreme policies,” the lawmaker said.
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has also said that “a lot” of Syrians accepted in the US are members of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
Many blame the US, Britain and other major Western powers for the exodus of refugees to the West and view Washington and its allies as major supporters of terrorism and war in the violence-hit regions such as Syria, where Takfiri terrorist groups such as Daesh (ISIL) have been wreaking havoc over the past years.