The US will reach its target this week of taking in 10,000 Syrian war refugees in a year-old resettlement program, the US ambassador to Jordan said on Sunday, after meeting families headed to California and Virginia.
The resettlement program has emerged as an issue in the US presidential campaign, with Republican nominee Donald Trump alleging displaced Syrians pose a potential security threat.
Alice Wells, the US ambassador to Jordan, said on Sunday that keeping Americans safe and taking in some of the world’s most vulnerable people are not mutually exclusive.
“Refugees are the most thoroughly screened category of travelers to the United States, and Syrian refugees are subject to even greater scrutiny,” she said.
Wells said the target of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US in the 2016 fiscal year will be reached tomorrow, as several hundred Syrians depart from Jordan over 24 hours.
The Jouriyeh family, which attended today’s short ceremony, is headed to San Diego, California.
Nadim Fawzi Jouriyeh, 49, a former construction worker from the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs, said he feels “fear and joy, fear of the unknown and our new lives, but great joy for our children’s lives and future.”
Jouriyeh, who suffers from heart problems, will be traveling with his wife, Rajaa, 42, and their four children. Their oldest son, 14-year-old Mohammed, said he is eager to sign up for school in San Diego and hopes to study medicine one day.
The resettlement program focuses on the most vulnerable refugees, including those who were subjected to violence or torture or are sick.