O'Malley said 5,000 to 8,000 refugees a year is not enough
He said the U.S. not immune to Syrian migrant crisis
Martin O’Malley wants the U.S. to welcome at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.
“I support the call from humanitarian and refugee organizations for the United States to accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees next year,” he said in a statement Friday. “If Germany – a country with one-fourth our population – can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we – the nation of immigrants and refugees – can do more.”
Syrian refugees are flooding Europe following the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians due to ethnic violence in the Middle East. The migrant crisis has engulfed Europe, leading many to ask whether the U.S. would take refugees from the continued fighting in Syria.
O’Malley said the number of refugees the U.S. is scheduled to accept next year is insufficient.
“Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But today our policies are falling short of those values. We must do more to support Syrian refugees – and we must certainly welcome more than the proposed 5,000 to 8,000 refugees next year,” he said.
The former Maryland governor said images such as that of a toddler’s body washing up on a Turkish beach should motivate the U.S. to do more.
“With more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing war and famine, they now comprise the second-largest refugee population in the world. As Europe is becoming increasingly aware, we are not immune from the injustices and tragedies that unfold outside our borders.” he said.
In an interview on MSNBC Friday, O’Malley’s top Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, said the U.S. needs to “do our part” to help Syrian refugees, though she did not specify a particular number as O’Malley did.
“We should do our part, as should the Europeans, but this is a broader, global crisis,” Clinton said. “I think we have got to come to grips that this is not going away and the millions of people need safe places to be.”
Each year, the President and Congress determine the number of refugees admitted to the United States. For fiscal year 2015, the White House announced the U.S. would accept up to 70,000 refugees from around the world.