US vows to help with European refugee crisis

US vows to help with European refugee crisis

The US has vowed to help its European allies with the escalating migrant crisis.

In two meetings behind closed doors, US secretary of state John Kerry plans to brief US Congress on how many more Syrian refugees the administration is willing to take in.

Mr Kerry is scheduled to meet the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

Earlier this week, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Mr Kerry’s predecessor, called for a “concerted global effort” to assist the refugees.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama administration is looking at a “range of approaches” for assisting US allies as they struggle to accommodate 340,000 people freshly arrived from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Many are fleeing parts of Iraq and Syria that are under the Islamic State group’s control.

While Germany braces for some 800,000 asylum seekers this year, the US has not said if it will increase its worldwide quota for resettling refugees from the current 70,000.

Only a fraction of those would be Syrians, who must first navigate a multi-year application process before learning if they can start a new life in the United States. Mr Kerry’s briefings will also canvas migrant exoduses from Central America and elsewhere.

In the US, refugees can wait around three years to find out if they can move to the United States, meaning Washington wouldn’t be able to offer Europe much in quick assistance.

Throughout Syria’s civil war, the US has accepted only about 1,500 Syrians – a tiny percentage of the 11.6 million people who have been chased out of the country or uprooted from their homes.

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