Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will be taking up to 85,000 refugees in the next year, and up to 100,000 by 2017.
The open arms will cast the United States in a positive light on the world stage, Kerry said.
“This step … is in keeping with the best tradition of America as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope,” Kerry said, the New York Times reported. “[It] will be accompanied by additional financial contributions [for the relief campaign].”
As the Associated Press noted, not all the refugees will hail from Syria, but rather other areas of turmoil in Africa.
“We’re doing what we know we can manage immediately,” he said, expressing the desire to “take more,” but recognizing the security restrictions put in place after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks that have slowed America’s ability to process migrants, the Hill reported.
Kerry’s announcement, made on the heels of a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Stenmeier, also came shortly after several former officials who worked with President Obama wrote a letter to petition the White House to take 100,000 refugees.
“We still need to do more and we understand that,” Kerry said.