A woman and her child arrive in the Kara Tepe municipality camp for refugees in the Greek island of Lesbos. [AP Photo]

Meeting the Unprecedented Challenge of the Global Refugee Crisis

The United States is taking the lead in meeting the unprecedented challenge of the global refugee crisis. At the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in September, President Obama brought together world leaders on the margins of the UN General Assembly to galvanize additional humanitarian support, improve access to education and lawful work for refugees, and expand opportunities for refugee resettlement

There is no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people, and we are committed to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Refugees are screened more carefully than any other type of traveler. Screening includes the participation of the United States’ Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Departments of State and Defense as well as additional intelligence agencies.

A family, who are Syrian refugees headed to the U.S. as part of a resettlement program, pose for a photo in the Amman, Jordan office of the International Organization for Migration. [AP photo]

The U.S. resettlement program serves refugees who are especially vulnerable; those who fled violence or persecution and cannot safely stay where they are or return home. It is the largest refugee resettlement program in the world. In Fiscal Year 2016, American communities welcomed 84,995 refugees from 79 countries, and the President has determined we will welcome 110,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2017.

As we work toward this goal, it’s important that we continue to lead by example and uphold our dear values of pluralism and diversity. Because, as President Obama has said, “American leadership is us caring about people who have been forgotten, or who have been discriminated against, or who have been tortured, or who have been subject to unspeakable violence, or have been separated from families at very young ages. That’s American leadership. That’s when we’re the shining light on the hill.”

[State Department photo]

About the Author: Larry Bartlett serves as Director of the Office of Refugee Admissions at the U.S. Department of State.


This entry originally appeared on DipNote, the U.S. Department of State’s Official Blog.