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Cardin Statement on President Obama’s Leader’s Summit on Refugees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Monday ahead of President Barack Obama’s hosting of a Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis on the margins of UN General Assembly. The Summit seeks to galvanize significant new commitments to increase funding to humanitarian appeals and international organizations, admit more refugees through resettlement or other legal pathways, and increase refugees’ self-reliance and inclusion through opportunities for education and legal work:

“I applaud President Obama for his recognition of the urgent need for all countries to do more to address the massive level of human displacement worldwide, including his recent announcement that the United States will aim to take in 110,000 refugees in 2017.

 “We are in the midst of the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War.  Wars, mass atrocities, and repression have forced more than 60 million people to flee their homes, more than half of them children. To help put that number in perspective, that’s the equivalent of one out of every five Americans becoming a refugee.  This is a global crisis which, like the people at the heart of it, crosses borders, seas, and continents. And yet, instead of a united front and a strategic effort, the refugee challenge has divided the international community, leaving the lion’s share of the response to a small number of countries, stretching our international humanitarian system to the breaking point, and putting millions of innocent people in dire situations.  

“I am hopeful President Obama’s summit will serve as a catalyst to get more countries off the sidelines and be part of the solution. Millions of lives depend on it.”