IMPACT

U.S. 'Steps Up,' Considers 9,000 Syrian Refugee Applications

SANLIURFA, TURKEY - DECEMBER 8: Syrians fled from the clashes between Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Syrian
SANLIURFA, TURKEY - DECEMBER 8: Syrians fled from the clashes between Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Syrian Kurdish armed groups in Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) city, try to hold on life at Suruc Boarding School in Sanliurfa, southeastern of Turkey on December 8, 2014. (Photo by Binnur Ege Gurun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Nations around the world are stepping up their responses to the Syrian refugee crisis, and the U.S. is among those expected to take on a bigger role.

On Tuesday, UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, reported that 28 nations have pledged to take in more than 100,000 people who've been uprooted by civil war in Syria, according to Reuters. Anne C. Richard, U.S. assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, said at a U.N. meeting in Geneva that the U.S. is considering 9,000 applications for those hoping to resettle, the Los Angeles Times reported.

So far, only 300 Syrian refugees have been housed in the U.S.

"They've been incredibly slow," Stacie Blake, director of government relations for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, told the L.A. Times of America's response. "We're years into the crisis, and it's not about to stop. We do see other countries around the world who have been able to step up."

UNHCR said that 62,000 pledges have already been placed by western nations like Germany (which pledged 30,000), Australia (5,600), Sweden (1,200) and Norway (1,000).

The increase in international support reflects a global concern for the region: More than 3.2 million Syrians are registered with the U.N. as refugees, with neighboring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt overwhelmed with those fleeing for safety.

While the U.N. praised increased global efforts, total pledges will still fall short of the UNHCR's goal to resettle about 130,000 Syrian refugees by 2016, Al Jazeera reported.

To donate toward UNHCR's mission helping Syrian refugees, visit the organization's website.

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