The 10,000th Syrian refugee is set to arrive in the U.S. Monday afternoon, fulfilling an Obama administration goal a month early.
A total of 85,000 refugees will be admitted to the U.S. this year from countries including Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Iraq, Somalia, Ukraine and Syria, National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice said Monday.
“I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals, as well as the many other refugees resettled this year from all over the world,” Rice said.
The U.S. was falling short of achieving President Obama’s goal as of late March. At the time, which was halfway through the fiscal year, only 1,285 Syrian refugees had been admitted to the country, according to official data.
The admittance of 10,000 Syrian refugees represents a sixfold increase from last year, Rice said. Reaching the goal early is being touted as a major accomplishment for the administration, but not everyone is happy with it.
Critics, like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, have repeatedly said the vetting process for admission to the country is not thorough enough.
Refugees are screened intensively before being allowed into the country. The National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, Homeland Security, the State Department and the Defense Department are all involved in screening, but terrorist attacks in France, Germany and other locations have made many wary about the prospect of allowing refugees into the country.
Syrian refugees living in the U.S. are a small portion of refugees worldwide. There are more than 4.8 million Syrian refugees, according to the United Nations.
A letter signed by 138 refugee advocacy groups thanked President Obama for his commitment to refugees and called on him to admit at least 140,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017.
President Obama is scheduled to convene a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the 71st U.N. General Assembly in September.