The heartbreaking pictures this week of a three-year-old Syrian boy's lifeless body, dressed neatly in shorts, shirt
and sneakers, lying on a Turkish beach, after his boat capsized trying to escape to Europe, spurred the Western world into action. Germany announced it is preparing to absorb 800,000 Syrian refugees, about 1 percent of its population, without establishing any upper limit. France has pledged to take in 24,000. Canada will accept 11,000. Even Britain and Australia, both in the grips of a nativist spasm, have each been shamed into taking 20,000 and 15,000 respectively.
But how many will America take in?
As per the Obama administration's announcement last night: 10,000. That's it. This is far, far lower than the 65,000 that human rights agencies had been urging even before the tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea became headline news. And a pittance on a per capita basis compared to these other countries. (Four million Syrian refugees have been crammed like cattle in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria's other neighbors for years, waiting to be resettled in vain. But now they are making the treacherous journey to Europe in search of a better life.)
So why is the administration being so tight fisted? Essentially because it is caving in to fears that jihadis might use the asylum system to sneak into the U.S.
How credible are these fears?
Read my morning column at The Week to find out.