The conflict in Syria has produced the largest refugee crisis in the world, with four million people forced to flee since the conflict began. More than half of them are children, most of whom do not attend school. They are already considered Syria’s “lost generation”.
The sheer magnitude of this crisis and the massive impact on the host countries struggling to meet the needs of these refugees in an already unstable region demands a vigorous and compassionate resettlement response for the most vulnerable who will never be safe where they are.
Increase the Number of Refugees Admitted to the U.S. Annually
Despite a history of leadership in refugee protection, a stunningly low number of Syrians have been resettled in the United States since the conflict began. That’s why HIAS has been advocating for the U.S. to open up additional resettlement spots and to commit to filling them faster, so that people aren’t stuck in life-threatening situations for months or years. That’s why HIAS is calling on the U.S. government to commit to resettling 100,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in the United States, allowing more individuals and families to start new lives in safety and freedom. You can help us to get our message across by signing our petition or by calling your representatives in Congress.
In addition to advocating for an increased quota in 2016, HIAS is calling on the U.S. to increase the amount of humanitarian aid that we provide in the region to ensure that refugees have access to food, shelter, medical care, and education while displaced from their homes, so they do not feel compelled to flee a second time.
Rescuing fewer than 1% of Syrian refugees will not solve the crisis but would save some of the most vulnerable refugees and show that the U.S. is doing what it can to support the Syrian people and the host countries.
Policy Obstacles that Prevent Syrians from Resettlement Have Been Revised
HIAS successfully advocated for revisions to the Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds (TRIG bars) contained in the Patriot Act to remove legal obstacles for some particularly vulnerable Syrian refugees, including women and children.
Previously, these bars applied to any individual who provided “material support” to insurgents, including something as simple of a bowl of rice given under duress, from entering the U.S. The laws were so broad that they denied safe haven in the U.S. to Syrian refugees who engaged in resistance against the Assad regime but pose no threat to the safety of Americans.
The Rights of Syrian Refugees Must Be Protected
It is imperative that the rights of Syrian refugees be respected and that the international community ensure that refugees are not returned to harm. Additionally, given that the large numbers of refugees strain the infrastructures of the countries hosting them, the international community must provide ongoing humanitarian aid to both the refugees and the host countries.
For the most recent blog posts about the crisis in Syria and our work with Syrian Refugees, click here.
Want to know what you can do to help? Click here.