US admits 10,000th Syrian refugee, White House says

The US is admitting its 10,000th Syrian refugee this year, the White House said Monday, meeting its goal for the year after earlier coming under pressure for not doing more to address the flood of people fleeing the Syrian conflict.

Amid pressure from European allies dealing with a flood of refugees from the ongoing Syrian civil war, US President Barack Obama last year set the goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States by the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

Officials had lagged behind for months in allowing in refugees amid an extensive vetting process, but stepped up the effort in recent months. The US had previously admitted just 1,800 Syrians from 2011 up until the end of last year.

"Today, I am pleased to announce that we will meet this goal more than a month ahead of schedule. Our 10,000th Syrian refugee will arrive this afternoon," National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a statement.

Obama's plan drew significant political backlash from Republicans and state governors concerned about the potential for would-be terrorists to enter the US through the programme. Washington responded by pointing to its rigorous screening of refugees before they arrive.

The issue has become a flash point in the presidential election, in which Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly called for a ban on Muslims entering the US amid terrorist attacks in Europe and the US.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and elsewhere in the region have crossed into Europe to claim asylum. Germany's Office for Migration and Refugees said Sunday that it was expecting up to 300,000 refugees to arrive in the country this year.

Last update: Mon, 29/08/2016 - 19:40

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