President Obama's announcement yesterday that the U.S. will accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year is a major change in policy: In the past five years, we've admitted fewer than 1,500 refugees from the war-torn country.
The United Nations and human rights groups have been asking the U.S. to do more for months. Facing the chaos that the wave of migrants is causing in Europe, Obama has finally agreed to raise the cap for the total number of refugees admitted to the U.S., which has been at 70,000 for the past few years.
Refugees undergo a careful vetting before coming to the U.S. The numbers admitted have been low in part because of strict post-9/11 security rules that excluded anyone who had rebelled against a government or provided any kind of assistance to rebels, barring many Syrians who had no real connection to terrorism. The Obama administration has eased those rules over the last year.
Here's a primer on the Syrian refugees who have been resettled in the U.S. so far, as well as more data about the refugees who have come here in the last few years. The data for these charts and maps, from the State Department's Refugee Processing Center, is current as of Aug. 31.
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Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.