The flood of refugees from the civil war in Syria "should challenge every moral fiber within us," U.S. Senator Bob Corker said Tuesday morning.
The remarks by the Tennessee Republican opened a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee aimed at finding ways to help the 11 million people — half of them children — whom the conflict has displaced.
The hearing came as resettlement organizations in Tennessee and across the nation are preparing themselves for a wave of refugees from Syria.
"These are people just like us that want only to be able to raise their families in dignity and cherish the same values and things that we all care about."
Aid groups urged the United States to focus on reuniting families and preparing for them to stay in the country permanently. They also said the U.S. has to do more to rebuild political institutions in the Middle East and to help negotiate a peace agreement.
Corker expressed skepticism about what the Obama administration is doing to end the civil war. He said it's missed chances to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he blames for the conflict.
"All of us are reaping what we sowed. We didn't get involved at a time that could have made a difference."
The worst part about the situation, said Corker, is that after four years of fighting, there seems to be no end in sight.