As criticism grows over Europe’s response to thousands of people fleeing Syria’s civil war, a group of Seattleites is organizing a brainstorm session to try to bring some of the refugees to Washington state.
According to the Facebook event, the brainstorming session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Savery Hall at the University of Washington campus. The organizer called for assistance from legal experts and others to share ideas.
This week, focus on the crisis escalated worldwide after news photographers shot photos of the body of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, who washed up on a beach in Turkey. His family had been trying to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece from Turkey by boat when they capsized. His five-year-old brother, Galip, and his mother, Rehan, also were among the 12 people who drowned. The boys’ father, Abdullah Kurdi, survived.
News reports say the boys’ aunt, Tima Kurdi of Coquitlam, British Columbia, had tried to get her family refugee status in Canada. She told reporters had been planning to apply for asylum status in Canada for her brother and his young family after getting another brother asylum status. Canadian immigration officials told reporters that the application for Kurdi’s other brother was rejected because it was incomplete.
More than 5,000 people have signed a petition for the U.S. to admit more Syrian refugees.
The U.S. has only taken in about 1,500 Syrian refugees overall since the conflict began, and few have ended up here in the Northwest.
The refugees currently flooding into Europe are generally outside of the UNHCR system, which has been registering and housing refugees at camps in neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey since the conflict in Syria began in 2011.