Last September, President Barack Obama promised to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States within a year. Seven months have passed since then, but so far, only 1,736 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the country. And it’s not for lack of space. During the same period, we’ve resettled more than 6,000 refugees from Burma and more than 4,000 from Iraq. Canada—with 11 percent of the United States’ population—has managed to fit 26,000 new Syrian refugees into its communities since November.
Obama now has five months to resettle more than 8,000 Syrian refugees if he wants to meet his goal. Twenty-seven Senate Democrats, including the number two Democrat in the Senate Richard Durbin and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have signed a letter calling on the president to pick up the pace. “In successfully resettling refugees from conflict zones around the world for decades,” they write, “the United States has not be dissuaded by fear and we should not be now.” Read the full text of the letter below.