Washington: The US plans to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, despite terrorist attacks in Paris that left at least 129 dead and more than 350 injured.
“We’re still planning to take in Syrian refugees,” Efe news agency quoted National Security Deputy Advisor Ben Rhodes as saying on Sunday.
Rhodes said the US has “very extensive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who come to the US.”
“We have to recognise there are tragic victims of this conflict, there are women, and children, orphans of this war and I think we need to do our part, along with our allies, to provide them a safe haven,” said Rhodes.
His comments come after the passport of a Syrian citizen was found at one of the sites of the attack in Paris, although it was not certain if it belonged to the person it was found next to.
According to newspaper reports, one of the suspects of the attacks might have come to Paris after crossing Serbia and Croatia as a refugee.
Several Republican presidential candidates have criticised Obama administration for allowing the arrival of refugees fleeing the Syrian war.
“We won’t be able to take more refugees. It’s not that we do not want to, it is that we can’t. Because there’s no way to background check someone that is coming from Syria… You can’t pick up the phone and call Syria,” said Republican Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
Business tycoon Donald Trump has also warned he will send back Syrian refugees if he makes it to the White House.
On September 10, Obama ordered his government to start preparations to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the new fiscal year, which began on October 1 and ends September 30, 2016, to deal with the immigration crisis affecting Europe.