During Thursday’s State Department press briefing, spokesman John Kirby was asked about the United Nations Human Rights Council report on the number of Syrian refugees seeking refuge in the United States.
The UN HRC report had the number of Syrian refugees who have resettled or sought other forms of admission in other western countries in the thousands. A reporter highlighted in the report that when the UN looked at the US that the number was listed as "open ended."
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Kirby said that there were about 13,000 applications for refugee referrals but did not have any more numbers to share with the press corps.
"The United States continues to welcome Syrian refugees," Kirby said.
Syrian refugees pose a terror risk and undergo additional forms of security screening before their application is accepted.
Larry Bartlett, director of the State Department’s Refugee Admission for the Bureau of Population, told ABC News that every refugee goes through an "intensive" system that draws on information from several intelligence agencies, including the Department of Defense. The process takes several months.
NPR reports that between 5,000 and 8,00 Syrian refugees applications will be approved and welcomed into the US over the course of next year. Currently only 500 refugees have been let into the US.
The UN HRC has referred 15,000 Syrian refugees to the US. More than 4 million people have fled the war-torn country since the start of the civil war in March 2015.