When asked if the Obama administration had plans to increase the number of Syrian refugees in the US, which has given refuge to just 1,541 Syrians during the country's five years of civil war, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, "I don't have any announcements along those lines."
The US "provides significant assistance through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]," Earnest said in defense of the decision.
The spokesman praised the EU authorities for handling the mounting refugee crisis in Europe; figures from the EU border agency Frontex show that in July alone a record 107,500 migrants crossed into the European Union, most of them Syrians and Afghans.
"We commend the EU for the steps that they’ve already taken to begin cracking down on those who prey upon migrants in desperate situations. We have seen widespread efforts of human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and we are certainly pleased to see the EU taking steps to crack down on that," Earnest said.
In this regard, the spokesman did offer some assistance to the country's European partners; the expertise of the US Coast Guard in dealing with migrants and refugees making dangerous sea crossings to reach their destination.
"There’s also some technical expertise that the United States can provide to our EU partners who are dealing with this difficult problem. The United States Coast Guard has some expertise in this regard and that is something that is being readily shared with our allies and partners in the EU."
Earnest's press briefing came the day after David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee [IRC], renewed its call on the US government to resettle 65,000 Syrian refugees before the end of 2016; the number represents half the 130,000 Syrian refugees the UNHCR called on the international community last year to resettle before the end of 2016.
"The country’s commitment to accept between 5,000 and 8,000 Syrian refugees before the end of 2016 can only be a first step. According to the IRC, the figure doesn’t come close to addressing the crisis in and around Syria," stated the IRC, which provides humanitarian aid to people living in the world's crisis-hit areas.