NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (UPI) — In his address to a global refugee summit, President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that dozens of countries have agreed to accept more migrants this year and next than they did in 2015.
In his remarks at the Leaders Summit on Refugees at the United Nations, Obama said 50 nations around the world have made the promise. Some have agreed to accept twice the number of refugees they did last year.
All told, the pledges will allow more than 350,000 refugees to flee their war-torn homes in 2017 and seek a fresh start elsewhere.
“We are facing a crisis of epic proportion,” Obama said. “We cannot avert our eyes or turn our backs. To slam the door in the face of these families would betray our deepest values.”
“Those girls being trafficked and tortured, those could be our daughters,” he added. “That boy on the beech could be our son, or grandson.”
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says more than 65 million refugees exist and many have been forced to escape their homelands to sidestep dangerous conflicts — like the civil wars in Syria and Yemen and terrorist activities in Libya and Pakistan.
The participating countries have also pledged an additional $4.5 billion in refugee aid, Obama said.
The president’s administration has said it will increase its limit on refugees entering the United States from 85,000 this year to 110,000 next year.