- The Washington Times - Friday, September 11, 2015

Two top Democrats have called for the U.S. to accept 100,000 Syrian refugees next year, or 10 times the number President Obama proposed this week, saying America should “do our part.”

Reps. John Conyers Jr. and Zoe Lofgren, who are the two top House Democrats on the committee dealing with immigration, also said the U.S. should take a total of 200,000 refugees, or nearly three times the number accepted in 2014.

“It is time for the United States to join the global community for a humanitarian response,” the two lawmakers said. “We should do our part by admitting 200,000 refugees, with 100,000 reserved for refugees from Syria.”

With as many as 4 million Syrians believed to have been displaced by a crumbling government and multiple rebellions, countries around the globe are trying to decide what they can do. Refugees have been streaming into Europe, where officials are trying to figure out how many they can accommodate.

Pope Francis urged Catholic churches across Europe to house refugees, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said its churches also stand ready to help.

But the debate in the U.S. separated from the chaos by distance, is only just beginning to develop.

Mr. Obama deployed his top aides to Capitol Hill this week to consult with key lawmakers — a requirement under the law if he wanted to increase the refugee caps.

Republicans, though, said they are wary of mass Syrian migration given the poor security situation and the prevalence of Islamic State fighters in that country.

“The president wants to surge thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States, in spite of consistent intelligence community and federal law enforcement warnings that we do not have the intelligence needed to vet individuals from the conflict zone,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.

He said the president should instead seek to solve the problem “at the source” by developing a better strategy for combatting the Islamic State and the Syrian regime at home.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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