President Barack Obama plans to admit 110,000 refugees from around the world to the United States over the next year — a figure that is 10,000 above his original goal and which immediately set off howls of protest from some Republicans.
The 110,000 figure is expected to include a substantial number of Syrian refugees, whose admission to the U.S. has sparked debate in the presidential race. Republican nominee Donald Trump wants to bar Syrian refugees completely, alleging that terrorists could be hiding among them.
At the same time, the 110,000 figure, which covers the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, is likely to disappoint many supporters of the refugee program, who have been urging the administration to take in as many as 200,000 displaced people from around the world.
A senior Obama administration official confirmed late Tuesday that Secretary of State John Kerry had briefed Congress earlier in the day about the administration's new plan. He noted that Kerry had said several months ago that the U.S. wanted to admit at least 100,000 refugees worldwide but that it would take more if it could.
The decision to go with 110,000 "is consistent with our belief that all countries should do more to help the world's most vulnerable people," the official said.