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Why won't the U.S. admit more Syrian asylum seekers?

Everyone who watches the news in Reading is familiar with the conflict that is happening in Syria. The civil war has been raging for years and there is no apparent end in sight, which means that there are large numbers of Syrians who are seeking asylum abroad. Although the U.S. has been good about admitting many people from the Middle East, there have been relatively few asylum seekers from Syria. Though there has been a shift in where most refugees have come from since the U.S. first started admitting asylum seekers into the country, the majority of refugees came from Iraq and Burma in 2012.

The United States government is not opposed to granting Syrians asylum, but it plans on only admitting up to 2,000 Syrians in 2014. That is only a small portion of the estimated 35,000 asylum seekers the U.S. hopes to resettle from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. Though there are certainly issues in these other countries, some might argue that the fighting in Syria is more pressing.

The United Nations is attempting to move more than 30,000 Syrian refugess abroad within the first 10 months of 2014. There are a handful of countries that are taking Syrian refugees, but many of these countries are only admitting them for the duration of the civil war, not for permanent residence and eventual citizenship.

For those lucky Syrians who do make it to the United States, being granted asylum is only part of the process. After a certain period of time, asylum seekers can apply for citizenship, a process that often requires the careful guidance of an immigration lawyer.

Source: The Washington Post, "U.S. says it hopes to offer asylum to 35,000, might include up to 2,000 Syrians," Anne Gearan, Dec. 27, 2013

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