WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley urged President Barack Obama to do more to help Syrian refugees, writing in a letter Tuesday that the U.S. needs to offer “more than a token increase.”
“I appreciate your administration’s attention to this issue, but I was disappointed to learn that the United States would accept only 10,000 Syrian refugees next year,” O’Malley wrote. “We can do more than a token increase.”
The U.S. is making plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming budget year, an increase from the 1,500 people who have been cleared to resettle in the U.S. since Syria’s civil war broke more than four years ago. The White House has been under pressure to do more to stem the humanitarian crisis in Europe.
The former Maryland governor wants the U.S. to accept 65,000 refugees from Syria by 2017. He noted in the letter that Germany is accepting 800,000 refugees this year despite having a much smaller population than the U.S.
In the Democratic presidential field, Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for an “emergency global gathering” at the U.N. General Assembly meeting this month, where countries could pledge aid money and accept some of the migrants. Her main rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has said the U.S. needs to be part of the global response to the crisis but has not offered a specific number.
O’Malley, a top fundraiser during Obama’s re-election campaign, has struggled against Clinton and Sanders.
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