HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — All eyes are on the 4 million people who’ve fled a brutal civil war in Syria that’s been raging for four years. Several European countries are offering to take in many of the refugees. The United States has also offered to help by possibly taking in 10,000 people. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants to see the process sped up.
“The magnitude of the refugee crisis is staggering and horrifying,” said Blumenthal.
Currently, it takes 18 months to two years for a refugee to come to the United States because of the lengthy process that’s involved. Sen. Blumenthal will submit a four point plan later this week to the powers that be in Washington that will hopefully eliminate some of the red tape. He announced some of his plan Monday morning in Hartford. Some of the points include:
- Expansion of the ‘Priority 3″ program that allows refugees with relatives in the United States to apply directly to the United States government for screening and resettlement.
- Improve coordination to end the repeat security checks that expire while refugees are still being processed.
- Use of videoconferencing for security screenings to greatly reduce the need for expensive and logistically-difficult travel.
- Notification of families when some, but not all family members have been cleared to come to the U.S.
Sen. Blumenthal adds that resources need to be in place before refugees arrive. But the other focus needs to be on resolving the war in Syria so that many of the families who’ve been displaced can one day return. For now, the focus is on bringing hope to people who’ve already lost so much.
“We are a nation that opens its arms and heart and our diversity makes us the greatest nation in the world. It’s not a weakness. It’s a strength,” said Blumenthal.