President Barack Obama is expected to announce at the U.N. General Assembly meeting next week the United States will increase the number of refugees admitted annually to 110,000 from the current 85,000.
The Wall Street Journal, citing an annual refugee report submitted to Congress, said the increase will go into effect Oct. 1, the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year.
The increase represents a 30 percent boost from fiscal 2016 and a 60 percent hike from fiscal 2015. In 1995, then-President Bill Clinton authorized the entrance of 112,000 refugees fleeing persecution and conflict.
Secretary of State John Kerry held a closed-door briefing with the House and Senate judiciary committees but declined to publicly release any details.
Admitting refugees to the United States has become a hot button issue for the presidential campaign in the wake of several terrorist attacks in Europe including the one last November in Paris that left 130 dead. It prompted Republican nominee Donald Trump to call for a moratorium on the admission of Muslims to the United States. He also has proposed a beliefs test for would-be immigrants to make sure they embrace American ideals.
Last year a number of Republican governors said they would refuse to settle Syrian refugees in their states although they have no power to block such settlement.
More than 10,000 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the U.S. this year. The 2017 refugee goals would allow 40,000 from the Near East/South Asia, the area that includes Syria, the Journal reported.
Obama has scheduled a summit on refugees for next Tuesday.
Congress has indicated it may limit spending on resettlement in next year’s budget.
Some 5 million Syrians have been displaced by civil war, with hundreds of thousands already having fled to Europe and thousands more in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan. The U.S. has committed $5.6 billion in humanitarian aid since the conflict erupted in 2009.