Refugees Slowly Settle in US as Debate Rages
A federal judge on Thursday rejected efforts by Texas to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees within its borders.
The ruling comes days after presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called to block noncitizen Muslims from entering the U.S. following the Orlando nightclub massacre.
Even before the attack, Americans were divided, mostly along party lines, on the issue of refugees from war-torn countries in the Middle East.
A survey conducted in late May by the Brookings Institution found of those polled, just 38 percent of Republicans supported taking in refugees from Syria and the Middle East, compared with 77 percent of Democrats. But among Trump supporters, an overwhelming 77 percent said they oppose taking in refugees.
By the end of 2014, there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide, according to the United Nations. This was an increase of 2.9 million from 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama has set a goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the 2016 fiscal year, which began on October 1. But the administration is still far behind that schedule. Only about 3,500 Syrian refugees have been admitted so far.
Russia Bombs US-Backed Rebels in Syria
Russian aircraft have dropped bombs on rebels battling Islamic State in southern Syria, including those supported by the United States, a senior U.S. official said.
The official, who asked not to be identified, said Russian jets had not been active in the location along the Syrian border with Iraq and Jordan, for some time, which raised “serious concerns” about the intentions of the Russians.
“We will seek an explanation from Russia on why it took this action and assurances this will not happen again," the official said Thursday.
In the past, the U.S. has been critical of the Russian presence in Syria, and has repeatedly refused to work with Russian forces in the country, which the U.S. accused of working with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to consolidate his power.
The bombing Thursday is likely to test already strained relations between the U.S. and Russia, and came just a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia and Syria to respect a cease-fire treaty signed between the three nations earlier this year.
"Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite." Kerry said Wednesday following a meeting with Iranian officials.