Washington (CNN)The White House is planning to increase the number of refugees accepted into the United States from around the world to at least 110,000 in 2017, a senior administration official told CNN.
Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Congress on Tuesday about the administration’s decision and has stated over the past year that the United States would seek to welcome 100,000 refugees in 2017 — and if possible, would accept more.
The increase — from 70,000 during 2013-2015 to 85,000 in 2016 to the plan of 110,000 in 2017 — is more than a 57% increase in refugee arrivals since 2015 and consistent with the administration’s belief that all countries should do more to help vulnerable people.
The United States’ refugee policy has been a top campaign issue in the 2016 election. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made waves last December when he proposed a temporary ban on all Muslims immigrating to the United States.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has said that she would like to see the number of Syrian refugees accepted into the United States increase from the Obama administration’s goal of 10,000 a year to 65,000 refugees.
Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson stumbled when asked what he would do about the humanitarian crisis facing the city of Aleppo, Syria, as a result of the nation’s ongoing civil war.