Petitions Pressure US to Accept More Refugees

Petitions Pressure US to Accept More Refugees Petitions Pressure US to Accept More Refugees

Multiple petitions are circulating on the Internet requesting that US President Barack Obama‘s administration accept more Syrian refugees

A petition that requires 100,000 signatures to be formally considered by the Obama administration had 47,463 as of 1:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. The petition, launched on Aug. 31 has until the end of September to meet its goal, Al Jazeera reported.

Several other petitions have been launched on advocacy websites like, calling on the US to lift its limit on Syrian refugees as Europe struggled to cope with record numbers of asylum seekers. Almost 1,300 people of a 2,000-person goal had signed a petition — one of several — set to be delivered to Obama.

One petition signer, the Reverend Everett Shattuck, 59, a Church of the Brethren minister from Mill Creek, Indiana, said opening his home to refugees was part of the US tradition of welcoming immigrants.

“Plus, we have to share some responsibility for that [war] because of our regime changes in the Middle East. Most of those refugees are a result of that,” Shattuck said, alluding to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

But others, although welcoming refugees, worried that extremists could enter the US along with those fleeing the fighting.

“I just pray that no terrorists disguised as a refugee tries to get in,” wrote Patti Perry of Cranberry Lake, New York.

  Change in Narrative

The United Nations says four million people have fled the fighting since the start of the civil war in 2011. The US has admitted about 1,500 refugees, and the White House said it was weighing responses to the crisis, including resettlement.

The head of the UN’s Geneva office, Michael Moeller, says UN members need to offset costs paid by Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and said the influx of Syrian refugees heading toward Europe was part of a larger, broader trend of mass migration worldwide.

In an interview Monday with AP, Moeller urged a change in “the narrative” in receiving countries: “Not every refugee is a terrorist, or a criminal, or a job-stealer or whatever.”

He also cautioned migrants and refugees against thinking that they’ll “end up–all of them–in Germany.” Germany has been among the most welcoming countries among European Union states.

  Real Exodus

European Union President Donald Tusk, speaking to the Bruegel Institute think-tank in Brussels on Monday, warned that the refugee crisis affecting Europe was part of an exodus from war-torn countries that could last years.

Tusk, who represents the bloc’s leaders, urged pragmatism and said member states must put aside their deep differences in facing the crisis.

In one of the latest scenes of desperation emblematic of a growing crisis, hundreds of angry and frustrated asylum seekers broke through police lines Monday near Hungary’s southern border with Serbia and began marching north toward Budapest, while Britain and France pledged to take in tens of thousands more refugees to try to ease the crisis.

The pledges came after Germany, which together with Austria accepted tens of thousands of refugees traveling via Hungary this weekend, told its European partners that they too must take in more refugees.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking after a weekend in which 20,000 refugees entered Germany from Hungary by train, bus and on foot, described the scope of the migration as “breathtaking” and tried to reassure German citizens that the crisis was manageable.