Hitting Important Milestone, U.S. Resettles 10,000th Syrian Refugee

By Rachel Nusbaum, HIAS.org

Hitting Important Milestone, U.S. Resettles 10,000th Syrian Refugee

The wife of US vice president Joe Biden, Jill Biden (C) meets Syrian refugee children on March 10, 2016 at the Zaatari refugee camp, located close to the northern Jordanian city of Mafraq near the border with Syria.

(AHMAD ABDO/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. will reach an important milestone this week for refugees. The Obama Administration has announced that it will meet its goal of welcoming at least 10,000 Syrian refugees before the end of September, part of its response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria created by years of an unrelenting civil war.

Among those arriving in the United States today to push the administration over their goal of 10,000 Syrians, are three families who will be assisted by HIAS as they begin new lives here.

“Millions have been displaced by the violence in the region, but this decision still represented a six-fold increase from the prior year, and was a meaningful step that we hope to build upon,” National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a statement released by the White House today.

“Since 1975, over 3.2 million refugees have joined the fabric of American society, each one making us a stronger, more pluralistic society,” noted Secretary of State John Kerry.

“This week’s resettlement milestone is a positive signal of the Obama Administration’s commitment to refugees, and a proud moment for this country. The past year has shown that the refugee resettlement program, with its several layers of intense security vetting, can successfully give the world’s most vulnerable people a chance to live with dignity again,” HIAS Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Melanie Nezer said.

“HIAS is honored to have worked with our partners in the Administration to assist so many refugees over the past year,” Nezer continued. “Now that our government has proven it can securely offer safety to 10,000 refugees desperately fleeing the Syrian conflict, it’s time to redouble our efforts and commit to protecting 200,000 refugees fleeing persecution all over the world in the coming year.” 

As one of the nine resettlement agencies that partner with the federal government to help welcome refugees to the U.S., HIAS has helped welcome 3,412 refugees so far this year, including more than 600 Syrians.

“When these families have passed all of their security checks and are given the green light to head to the U.S., HIAS ensures that they are welcomed from the moment they arrive,” said Robert Warwick, senior director of U.S. programs at HIAS.

“We work with our local partners in communities across the country to ensure that there is a friendly face to meet them at the airport, no matter the hour, and a warm meal waiting for them in their new home. From English language courses and job search help for the parents to getting their kids enrolled in school, we are delighted to be there for these newly arrived families as they begin new lives in safety and freedom,” Warwick said.

Want to know what you can do to help welcome these and other newly arrived refugees in the United States? Click here to see if your synagogue is signed on to the HIAS Welcome Campaign, and click here to ask your representatives in Congress to support refugees. 

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