(Reuters) – Religious groups in the United States have urged the White House to step up its response to the Syrian refugee crisis, with one on Tuesday calling Washington’s efforts so far “disappointing.”
Church World Service, a global humanitarian organization that represents 37 Christian denominations, has called on the government to take in 100,000 Syrians over the next year, said Jen Smyers, who works on the group’s immigration and refugee program.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the Jewish refugee assistance agency HIAS along with secular groups have also backed that figure.
Since Syria’s war broke out in 2011, Washington has accepted 1,500 refugees, most of them this year, and the State Department expects 300 more by October. Four million people have fled the country since the fighting began, according to U.N. estimates.