Majority Opposes Obama’s Order to Admit 10,000 Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugees cross the Iraqi border / AP

The majority of Americans oppose President Obama’s plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States over the next year, according to a poll released Monday.

The Quinnipiac University poll indicates that 53 percent of American voters do not want the country to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the Middle Eastern country amid civil war.

Earlier this month, Obama ordered the government to accept no fewer than 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, a figure that is six times the number of Syrian refugees that the U.S. has allowed into the country since the start of the war in Syria.

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A plurality of independent voters and one-third of Democrats oppose admitting this number of refugees. Only 41 percent support the president’s order.

The opposition to Obama’s plan appears to stem from concerns regarding national security. Fifty-eight percent of U.S. voters believe that admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees would threaten the nation’s security, with majorities of Republicans and independents saying so. Approximately one-third of Democratic voters agree.

A plurality of voters–41 percent–say that the Syrian refugees would pose a major threat to U.S. national security.

Indeed, lawmakers and intelligence leaders have cautioned against admitting a large number of refugees from Syria into the country. Earlier this month, director of National Intelligence James Clapper voiced "huge concern" that Islamic State terrorists could infiltrate crowds of Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe and the United States.

"As they descend on Europe, one of the obvious issues that we worry about, and in turn as we bring refugees into this country, is exactly what’s their background?" Clapper said at an intelligence community conference. "We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees."

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the U.S. will ramp up its annual acceptance of refugees to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017, which would represent a more than 40 percent increase in accepted refugees over a two-year period. Many of those refugees will come from Syria.