U.S. has taken in 1,736 Syrian refugees — less than a fifth of pledged intake

The New York Times reports: The Obama administration’s effort to step up asylum for Syrian refugees is going so slowly, it may not meet the president’s deadline for accepting at least 10,000 by the end of the fiscal year.

More than seven months since the president pledged to resettle the most vulnerable Syrians, the United States has let in less than a fifth of that number — 1,736 through the end of April, according to government figures.

Most of the world’s four million Syrian refugees live in countries in the region: Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Canada has offered visas to more than 48,000 Syrians, according to the United Nations, and is also allowing private groups to sponsor Syrian families. More than 400,000 Syrians sought asylum in Germany last year, and Brazil has issued nearly 8,500 humanitarian visas to Syrians.

At the General Assembly debate that is scheduled to begin on Sept. 20, Mr. Obama plans to lead a special session at which world leaders are expected to publicly pledge to take in more refugees.

Russia, a major supporter of the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, has not resettled a single Syrian refugee, according to the United Nations. [Continue reading…]

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