At his very last United Nations General Assembly address as the President of the United States, President Barack Obama had declared; “Today, a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.”
It was a loaded statement that could be seen as a dig at Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has loudly voiced his intent to build a border wall in the event of his becoming President, but it also goes to show the President’s willingness to let people in.
It is a sentiment that ran across his entire address, a part of which he used to call on member states to step up in their commitment to accept and help refugees, of which African refugees make up a sizeable chunk.
At the UN General Assembly, member states had adopted the New York Declaration on Refugees which gave them two more years to negotiate their strategies and obligations on the refugee crisis. President Barack Obama then kicked off the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees the very next day, giving an address which saw him referring to the refugee crisis as “one of the urgent tests of our time” and “a test of our common humanity”.
With all that talk, President Obama had a lot to back up as he issued an executive order on the acceptance of refugees for the United States next fiscal year this week.
The US Will Allow 35,000 African Refugees In Their Next Fiscal Year
The White House announced on Wednesday that President Barack Obama has signed an executive order authorizing the United States to accept as many as 100,000 refugees based on humanitarian concerns.
Of that number, 35,000 refugees will be accepted from Africa. The rest of the breakdown of that number will see along with the 35,000 African refugees; 12,000 from East Asia, 4,000 from Europe and Central Asia, 5,000 from Latin America and the Carribean, 40,000 from Near East and South Asia, and an unallocated reserve of 14,000.
Obama wrote in a memo to the US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday:
“The admission of up to 110,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”
Prior to the announcement by the President, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anne Richard, said on Tuesday that the United States is providing $364 million in additional humanitarian aid for those affected by the war in Syria.
In the fiscal year 2016 which ends today, the US admitted 85,000 refugees, including 12,500 from Syria; a total which exceeded the government’s goal of 10,000 for the fiscal year.