The Obama administration and the United Nations are attempting to come up with a plan to effectively increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to enter the United States this year from 10,000 to as many as 200,000.
Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner reports that meetings are being held between U.S. officials and U.N. human rights officials to come up with “alternative safe pathways” for refugees to enter America and Europe.
These ideas include asking colleges and universities to establish tuition programs and calling for refugees currently residing here to be willing to house fellow Syrians that have left their country.
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The University of Southern California announced last week it was offering a number of tuition programs that will be free to Syrian refugees who meet USC’s admission standards.
Georgetown University professor and U.N. adviser Beth Ferris, speaking at a Brookings Institution conference, said, “Refugees and government officials are expecting this crisis to last 10 or 15 years. It’s time that we no longer work as business as usual. … (The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) next month is convening a meeting to look at what are being called ‘alternative safe pathways’ for Syrian refugees. Maybe it’s hard for the U.S. to go from 2,000 to 200,000 refugees resettled in a year, but maybe there are ways we can ask our universities to offer scholarships to Syrian students. Maybe we can tweak some of our immigration policies to enable Syrian-Americans who have lived here to bring not only their kids and spouses but their uncles and their grandmothers. There may be ways that we could encourage Syrians to come to the U.S. without going through this laborious, time-consuming process of refugee resettlement.”
A report by the Center for Immigration Studies released Monday states, “With the Syrian crisis entering its sixth year … UNHCR is thinking of ‘innovative approaches’ to organize Syrian admissions, alongside the refugee resettlement program, to countries willing to welcome them. UNHCR’s target for resettlement is 480,000 places over the next three years; it is not sure how many additional admissions into the U.S. and elsewhere these new ‘alternative safe pathways’ will ensure. Refugees who are not resettled could be ‘legally admitted’ using various routes described below.”
These various routes, according to Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, include what he calls “more flexible mechanisms for family reunification'” as well as providing student visas and visas for medical reasons.
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