State Department foresees few refugees from Syria this year


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Despite the rising violence in Syria, the United States does not expect an influx of refugees from that country, State Department officials said Thursday.

“We have brought only a handful so far, and I don’t think it’s going to happen quickly and I don’t think it’s going to happen in very large numbers,” Assistant Secretary of State Anne C. Richard said in testimony before the Helsinki Commission, a congressional commission that considers issues under a 1975 convention of European security. The commission’s chairman is Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md.

“I could foresee a time when some refugees will come here from Syria,” Richard said. That won’t happen, however, until Syrians “really feel they can’t go home again.”

The United States is consistently the world’s largest haven for refugees and expects to admit at least 70,000 in the next year, but those are most likely to come from Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan, Richard said.

More than 1.6 million Syrians have fled the country’s civil war and are now living in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, according to the United Nations. Jana Mason, a U.N. official, told the commission that the United States and other countries need to provide greater financial aid to the countries that have taken Syrians in.

“If our goal is to encourage the host countries to keep their borders open and continue allowing refugees to access basic services, then we as an international community must do more to assist these governments and their local communities,” Mason’s testimony read.

Cardin urged the State Department to make sure procedures are in place to deal with the Syrian refugees, whether in the United States or elsewhere.

“These people are extremely vulnerable,” he said. “Definitive action is important, and we need to have the resources in place to be able to deliver on what we claim to be our international responsibility to accept refugees.”

Email:; Twitter: @alimariewatkins

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • 500 evacuated due to flooding in Romania

    Authorities evacuated 500 people from an area in southwest Romania after surging floodwaters submerged villages during one of the country's wettest summers in recent years.

Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, attends a plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 9, 2012 (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    China’s anti-corruption push targets highest-ranking official yet

    China’s Communist Party has placed under investigation the highest-ranking official yet to be ensnared in its corruption crackdown, Zhou Yongkang, former security chief and oil czar.

This photo provided by the CDC shows an ebola Virus. U.S. health officials are monitoring the Ebola outbreak in Africa but say the risk of the deadly germ spreading to the United States is remote.

    West African airline suspends flights amid Ebola

    Police officers deployed to Liberia's international airport to ensure passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms as a major regional airline announced Tuesday it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category