Durbin: We Should be Prepared to Accept 100,000 Syrian Refugees

In a speech on the Senate Floor, Senator discusses ongoing crisis and his recent visit with Chicago-area refugee families

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – During a speech on the U.S. Senate Floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) called for a drastic increase in the number of Syrian refugees who are resettled in the United States. Durbin also spoke of his meeting last week with Syrian families who have recently resettled in the Chicago area.


“We have a history of responding to humanitarian crises. We need to do it again. What the Administration has posed is modest: 10,000. Too modest, as far as I am concerned.  I believe we should be prepared to accept 100,000, Syrian refugees,” Durbin said.


“The people I have met in Chicago, the refugees there, are just desperate people, trying to find a roof over their head, trying to find some little work to do to keep what remains of their family together. Each and every one of them said something interesting: all four of them said they couldn't believe how welcoming America was, and how friendly the people in America were to the refugees and their families. That’s who we are. That’s what America is about. We shouldn’t be afraid when people who are desperate for some refuge find our shores and say, may we come and join you?”


On Friday, Durbin met with Syrian refugees who have settled in Chicago, representatives from Chicago’s Syrian community and representatives from RefugeeOne, Heartland Alliance, Catholic Charities and World Relief to discuss the need to increase refugee resettlements and create humanitarian safe zones in Syria. Photos of that meeting are available here.


Video of Durbin’s statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin remarks is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.


Earlier this year, Durbin and thirteen of his Senate colleagues wrote a letter to President Obama calling on the Administration to take action to increase the number of Syrian refugees the United States accepts for resettlement. At the time he sent that letter in May, only about 700 Syrians had been resettled since 2011. That letter is available here.


Durbin has also led an effort this year to urge the Administration to work with allies in establishing a humanitarian safe zone in Syria. In April, Durbin led a letter calling on President Obama to immediately establish and enforce humanitarian safe zones to protect civilian lives and supply lines for food, water, and medical supplies. That letter is available here.


In 2012, Durbin visited the Syrian refugee camp in Kilis Turkey on the Syrian border.


The Syrian conflict has led to the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crisis and the worst refugee crisis since World War II. As the Syrian Civil War goes into its 5th year, more than half of Syria’s 23 million people have been forced from their homes. Last week, the Obama Administration announced that the United States would take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year.