Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for your administration’s commitment to addressing the Syrian humanitarian crisis. Due to your leadership, the United States has led the international community as the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance. The American people should be proud that this policy reflects their generosity and compassion.
The images from Europe this month reminded the world that more than four million Syrians have been made refugees. Many governments are responding admirably by significantly increasing their refugee quotas to match the depth of the crisis. I appreciate your administration’s attention to this issue, but I was disappointed to learn that the United States would accept only 10,000 Syrian refugees next year. We can do more than a token increase.
I have called for the United States to accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by 2017 – a number that is consistent with past U.S. policy and requests from humanitarian organizations. Welcoming 65,000 refugees would be the rough equivalent of accommodating just six more people in a baseball stadium that holds 32,000. Germany has one-fourth our population and is accepting 800,000 refugees this year, and 500,000 in subsequent years.
Certainly we can do more. Our credibility as a leader of nations requires that we do more. And the principles of our country demand that we do more.
As a former governor, I am aware of the precautions that must be taken to protect our homeland.
But our country is large enough and compassionate enough to welcome 65,000 Syrian refugees by 2017, and I encourage you to do everything in your power to respond appropriately to this moral imperative.
Former Governor of Maryland