Scott Arbeiter writes: This year the United States will take in 85,000 of the world’s most vulnerable so they can begin new lives in America, the highest number since 2001. But at a time when 65 million people have been displaced by violence, and 20 million of them are classified as refugees — more than half of them children — it is not enough.
Recently, the Obama administration took a small step forward, raising the number of refugees the country will let in to 110,000 for the next fiscal year. The next step is for Congress to allocate resources for resettlement — something it has always done, in a bipartisan fashion, since the refugee crisis after World War II.
Unfortunately, this time, a vocal minority in Congress, the states and the public are arguing that we should respond to this humanitarian crisis by pulling up the welcome mat, even for families fleeing the civil war in Syria and the brutality of the Islamic State. Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, called the administration’s increase “reckless and extreme.”
Fear of refugees is not new. In 1939, the United States turned away more than 900 Jews fleeing Hitler’s Germany because of worries that some might be Nazi conspirators or Communists. More than a quarter of those refugees died in the Holocaust. [Continue reading…]