The Obama administration will exceed the target goal of 10,000 Syrian refugees resettled in the United States this fiscal year, and may take in closer to 12,000, the State Department announced Monday.
"We will meet the 10,000 figure today, and I would fully expect that you will see additional Syrian refugees admitted into the United States between now and the end of the fiscal year," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday. "How many [more]? I couldn't predict, but it would be roughly on the same pace that we have achieved over the course of the late spring and summer, which has been about 2,000 per month."
Obama's refugee plan sparked fears on Capitol Hill and among voters that Islamic State terrorists would be able to sneak into the country posing as refugees, but Kirby insisted that the refugees have gone through the most stringent vetting of any class of refugees in the world. And he emphasized that refugee resettlement isn't the main tactic of the Obama administration in addressing the crisis in Syria.
Kirby said the United States focused on resettling the "most vulnerable" refugees. "It is not the best option," he said. "We're equally as dedicated to our efforts to end the civil war in Syrian so that people don't have to flee, so that when this is over they'll have a home to go back to ... because many of these people want to do that, they want to be able to pick up their lives, they just can't right now."
In the meantime, however, the refugee resettlement will continue at a far more rapid pace than in previous years. Just over 1,800 Syrian refugees were allowed to enter the country over the prior three fiscal years combined.