Germany heads for 1m refugees in 2015 as the U.S. lags far behind

By Updated at 2015-12-09 21:34:07 +0000


In the four years since the Syrian civil war began, the US has admitted fewer than 2,174 Syrians. This number is far behind the thousands of refugees pouring into European countries each day. Rates of success for acceptance varies from country to country. For example, the process for admission into the US can take up to three years, say aid groups. President Obama pledged to accept at least 10,000 Syrians during the coming year, however Republicans are determined to stop his plan. 

On the other hand Germany has registered more asylum-seekers than any other nation in Europe and United States, with 964,574 new asylum-seekers since the beginning of 2015, putting it on course for more than a million this year. Germany’s top-selling newspaper, the Bild Daily, cited an internal forecast from authorities that the government is anticipating the arrival of up to 1.5m. Even with the winter cold, November shows a record high of 206,101 refugees arriving in the country. The figures are not broken down by nationality, but in previous months Syrians, who are provided an open-door policy in Germany, have been the largest group at around a third.

Applications had taken an average of seven months to process in 2014, according to Germany's Interior Ministry, but the process now takes about five months, due in part to speeding applications from Syria and from what the Ministry defines as "safe countries of origin", such as the West Balkan states. 

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said that poor weather and a Turkish crack down on people smugglers has caused the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe to decline by more than a third in November. Approximately 140,000 migrants and refugees made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe, marking a 36.5% drop from October, when a record 220,535 migrated to Europe, the UNHCR said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to welcome Syrian refugees has won her accolades by many but others question her approach, including senior ministers.

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