U.S. admits 10,000 Syrian refugees, six come to New Hampshire 

  • FILE - In this June 14, 2015 file photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, thousands of Syrian refugees walk in order to cross into Turkey. After a slow start, it appears increasingly likely that the Obama administration will hit its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States before the end of September. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

Monitor staff
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Obama administration announced the U.S. admitted its 10,000th Syrian refugee Monday, reaching the White House target for this fiscal year. Six Syrian refugees have been resettled in New Hampshire since last November, but one left immediately, according to Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan’s office.

Hassan’s office did not provide more information on the individuals or where they were resettled in the state.

Hassan was the only Democrat out of more than 20 governors who after the Paris terror attacks called for the U.S. to temporarily stop accepting Syrians refugees, citing concerns with the vetting process.

It’s not clear whether Hassan, who is now running for U.S. Senate, is satisfied now with the screening, which advocates can say take more than two years.

“The governor believes that there must be continued efforts to strengthen the screening and vetting process for all entryways into the United States,” said her campaign spokesman Aaron Jacobs.

Nearly 5 million Syrians have fled the country since civil war broke out. President Obama directed the U.S. increase the number of refugee admissions from Syria six-fold this year.

The administration hit its goal a month ahead of schedule, and a few weeks before Obama convenes a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations. National Security Advisor Susan Rice indicated the administration may be increasing its target in the future.

“The United States has committed to work with the international community to significantly increase humanitarian assistance funding, double the global number of refugees afforded opportunities for resettlement or other humanitarian admissions, and help empower refugees in countries of asylum,” Rice said in a statement.

The federal government works with nine private resettlement agencies to place refugees across the country. The International Institute of New England and Ascentria Care Alliance oversee refugee resettlement in the Granite State.

Ascentria has resettled all Syrians in the state. A spokeswoman for the organization, citing confidentiality, declined to give any information about the refguees’ circumstances or say where in the state they have been placed.

“Unfortunately, I can’t share much specifics about them,” said Amy Marchildon of Ascentria.

Some of the Syrians have been resettled in Concord, the organization said in April.

The International Institute of New England has resettled 25 Syrians in the Lowell area, said President and CEO Jeff Thielman. The organization is picking up another family of seven from the airport in Manchester today and bringing them to Massachusetts. Thielman is hopeful the group will settle some Syrian refugees in New Hampshire.

“They come here . . . seeking peace, and better education opportunities for their children,” he said. “We would love to resettle refugees in Nashua and Manchester from Syria, but we have not had the privilege.”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or amorris@cmonitor.com)