The United States will seek to meet a goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees before the end of the year, President Barack Obama said, commenting on a program that has faced delays and criticism.
“We’re going to keep on pushing,” Reuters quoted Obama as saying Thursday when asked if the target can be met.
Last autumn, Obama promised to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of fiscal year 2016. But as of March 31, halfway into the fiscal year, only 1,285 people had been allowed in.
Obama’s promise has come under fire from Republicans concerned that violent militants could come into the US posing as refugees.
More than 30 governors have tried to block refugees from their states, but courts and attorneys general have said it is up to the federal government to screen refugees and settle them.
Obama said Thursday that his administration wants to assure the public that the refugees were being properly screened and vetted.
“Administratively I think now we have the process to speed it up,” he was quoted as saying at a news conference with student journalists at the White House.
“Our goal is to continue to try to make the case to Congress and the American people (that) this is the right thing to do and we believe that we can hit those marks before the end of the year.”
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