International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The International Rescue Committee expresses dismay at 10,000 number for Syrian refugee resettlement

10 Sep 2015 - **Update** September 11, 2015:  The IRC supports Refugee Council USA call for 100,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled to the US in 2016. Numbers below are updated from 65,000 to 100,000 to reflect that support.

  • Calls on US Government to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees in 2016;
  • David Miliband: This offer is “cold comfort” to victims of Syria’s conflict;
  • The international response to refugee resettlement wholly inadequate. United States must lead at this critical moment.

New York, September 10, 2015 —The International Rescue Committee today expressed dismay at President Obama’s announcement that the US government would increase by 2,000 the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the country in 2016 from 8,000 to 10,000. The IRC called on the US to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.

The IRC has been responding to the Syrian conflict on all levels: in the Syria region, in Greece, and in the US where it has resettled 270 of the 1500 Syrians who have been accepted since the crisis began almost five years ago.

Over 4 million Syrian refugees now live in limbo in refugee camps and urban settings in neighboring countries. With no end in sight to the conflict, tens of thousands are now taking desperate measures to seek safety in Europe.

The international commitment to refugee resettlement has been wholly inadequate to date. France has committed to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the next 2 years with the UK willing to assist only 20,000 before the end of 2020. The IRC calls on the Administration to heed the calls of both political and religious leaders in this country and from the public to address the Syrian refugee crisis, and respond in a far more significant way.

There is precedent for a large scale increase in refugee resettlement. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the United States resettled over 150,000 refugees from Southeast Asia—on an annual basis – who have since then become a rich and vibrant component of the cultural fabric of this country.

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said:

“This offer to 2,000 people is cold comfort to the victims of the Syrian conflict. With 4 million living in limbo and tens of thousands making desperate choices to reach safety, the US has a moral responsibility to lead and is fully equipped to respond in a far more robust way.

“The international response to refugee resettlement has been wholly inadequate to date. The United States – a country that has long been recognized as a humanitarian leader in refugee resettlement, once again must lead at this most critical moment.

“The International Rescue Committee stands ready to do our part to welcome Syrian refugees – in significantly larger numbers - to the United States.”

Earlier this week, the IRC along with members of Refugee Council USA sent a letter to the White House pledging their support to assist with the resettlement of up to 100,000 Syrians to the United States next year. The IRC strongly believes that this is what is urgently needed to rescue those families who the UN Refugee Agency has identified as the most vulnerable. It will also relieve some of the burden on neighboring countries, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, who have to date borne all of the responsibility of the 4 million people who have fled the conflict in Syria.


The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 22 U.S. cities. Learn more at and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.


August 20, 2015, Washington Post Editorial: A refugee crisis of historic scope

March 19, 2015, Washington Post Commentary: US should boost resettlement of Syrian refugees.

January 7, 2014 Press Release: IRC calls on US Government to take Emergency Measures and resettle 12,000 Syrian refugees before end of 2014.

IRC Contact Information

Lucy Carrigan

212 551 0969