The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Is the U.S. Doing Enough?

For four years a bloody civil war has wracked Syria. The estimated death toll has exceeded 220,000. Over four million Syrians have fled their country. Imagine a population almost the size of Missouri’s trying to escape beheadings and shootings to find a new home. The war in Syria has created one of the greatest refugee crises since the end of World War II.

Some countries, such as Germany, have agreed to accept a sizable number of refugees. The United States, however, has been slow to open its doors to the refugees. Since October 1, 2014, only 1,682 Syrian refugees have been admitted.

President Obama has pledged that the U.S. will accept 10,000 Syrians but private and religious charities say they are prepared to resettle many more, up to 100,000. See this New York Times article and The World Bank essay for an overview.

The federal government handles the resettling of refugees into the U.S. through a network of nine major private aid agencies with 180 affiliates located in communities across the nation, including the Refugee and Resettlement Office of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is responding to the refugee crisis in countries closer to Syria, including Greece, Albania, Macedonia and Serbia. For more read the CRS report.

The U.S. Catholic bishops are asking citizens to urge President Obama to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the U.S. to at least 100,000. The bishops are also encouraging citizens to urge Congress to provide more aid to countries near Syria that are overwhelmed by refugees. See Catholic Bishops to send a message to President Obama and to your U.S. Representative and Senator.

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