President Obama on Tuesday will call for a new international commitment to deal with the worldwide refugee crisis even as presidential nominee Donald Trump and other Republicans push to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. The president will outline his vision during remarks at a refugee summit on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a city struck by terrorism on Saturday.
Calls for Obama to reconsider his approach have been stirred anew by the latest attacks, which included homemade bombs in New York and New Jersey and stabbings in a Minnesota mall.
“Hillary Clinton wants to increase what [Obama has] let in,” Trump said Monday . “He’s let in thousands and thousands of people. They don’t know — they can’t be properly vetted, there’s no way. Our leaders are — I don’t even say weak, I say stupid.”
Calls for tighter curbs on immigration also came from a former Trump rival in Congress.
“Congress should act to prevent Americans who have travelled abroad for training from returning here, and to stop the flow of refugees from hotbeds of terrorism in the Middle East that President Obama is determined to bring to our country,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a former presidential candidate, said Monday.
The U.S. is accepting 10,000 refugees from Syria, and Obama wants the nation to accept 110,000 refugees from around the world next year.
That is a 30 percent increase from the total number the U.S. welcomed this year.
Not since World War II has the world been forced to grapple with a refugee crisis on this scale; more than 65 million people have been driven from their homes, and 21 million have crossed international borders.
The pressure to find a place for refugees is coinciding with deep fears in the United States over immigrants from the Middle East.
Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States last fall, a position for which he was criticized but that appeared to help him in the Republican primary.
Hillary Clinton has called for accepting 65,000 Syrian refugees next year, and on Tuesday said she has “long been an advocate for tough vetting.”
Obama has faced criticism from all sides over his handling of the Syrian crisis.
Human rights groups have praised the summit but also say it highlights the Obama administration’s failings in Syria. Obama has refused to directly intervene in the country’s five-year civil war with actions like setting up safe zones for refugees.
Dozens of countries are expected to announce new commitments at the summit, which is co-hosted by Jordan, Mexico, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Ethiopia, according to administration officials.
Power did not disclose the pledges from other countries. But on Monday, China announced it plans to contribute an additional $100 million to refugee relief efforts. Canada pledged a 10 percent increase in its overall humanitarian assistance efforts this year.