Americans are wakening to the need to offer what Chris Murphy, Connecticut's junior U.S. senator, calls "a more robust humanitarian response" to the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn homeland.
Better late than never.
This country, which has a history of generosity, is nevertheless something of a piker when it comes to the uprooted Syrians, having taken in only 1,500 of them since the Syrian civil war began four years ago.
Germany, by comparison, with about a quarter of the population of the United States, will resettle about 800,000 refugees, mostly Syrian, by the end of next year.
Last week, President Obama said the U.S. will offer access to at least 10,000 Syrians in 2016 if they can pass a strict vetting process. That's a good start, but still falls short of a fair share for a country of 330 million people.
Mr. Murphy, the highest-ranking Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's panel with jurisdiction over Middle East affairs, returned a few days ago from a trip to that unstable region, including a visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan that the senator described as a "hellhole."
It has no sewer system and only sporadic electricity. "Families are packed like sardines ... and have given up hope," he said, adding, "They shake their heads and wonder what the United States is doing."
Mr. Murphy says the United States should accept at least 50,000 Syrian refugees. That's more like it. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, to his credit, said some would be welcome in Connecticut.
There appears to be bipartisan support. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said the U.S. "should take our fair share. We are good people. I don't think the average American has any idea what it's like to live in the Mideast right now."
The United States should do its fair share. It won't solve the refugee problem. But it would take some of the pressure off Syria's neighbors — such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey — that are inundated with about 1.5 million homeless Syrians.
The U.S. should also continue its generous provision of dollars for humanitarian assistance for the Syrian refugees — more than any other nation.
Most important, the U.S. should press harder for a political settlement of the Syrian civil war.