Obama Recruits Corporate Giants to Bring More Refugees

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Google, Goldman Sachs, UPS and Airbnb…. These are just a few of the companies who have pledged their money and services to help Obama resettle more Syrian refugees.

Obama has vowed the United States will resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of September, but Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress on Thursday that the “extensive screening process” has slowed down the process, and only 5,000 have been approved so far.   Only the most vulnerable are being admitted, the government says, such as widows, orphans, and people whose lives have been threatened. 

Obama will be hosting a summit at the United Nations on September 20, and he has recruited the private sector to at least help shoulder some of the burden toward meeting his goal.   Having the corporate commitments from the U.S. is also expected to give him additional leverage when he pushes other countries to increase their own refugee commitments as well.

Bloomberg reports that at least 15 companies led by Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and Alphabet, Inc. have pledged money to help with the efforts.

Goldman Sachs, which has already contributed $4.5 million in response to the crisis, says it will underwrite programs to help refugees learn English and gain employment skills.

Alphabet’s Google will provide consulting and technology to nonprofits the company says will help more than 1 million refugees worldwide access information and education this year.  “We are thrilled to be part of this partnership, and to see the White House’s continued leadership in this area,” Roya Soleimani, a spokeswoman for Google, said in an e-mail.

Airbnb, Inc. has promised to donate credits for relief workers to book housing through its site.

Other companies joining in with financial donations or other assistance include HP, Inc., IBM, MasterCard, Inc., and United Parcel Service, according to Bloomberg.

The United Nations is pushing for additional funding and commitments from other countries, saying they have only received $11 billion of the $20 billion they requested, forcing them to cut rations of food and medicine.  Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said they have only found homes for 110,000 refugees, out of 1.2 million who are needing to be resettled.

Bloomberg says Obama will be lobbying for increased refugee aid from other countries at the NATO summit in Warsaw next weekend.

Obama said Wednesday while in Canada, “When refugees escape barrel bombs and torture, and migrants cross deserts and seas seeking a better life, we cannot simply look the other way.  We certainly can’t label as possible terrorists vulnerable people who are fleeing terrorists.”



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