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Rep. Ellison calls for U.S. to accept more refugees

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Landing on Lesbos
A man carries a child as migrants and refugees arrive on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey to Lesbos island, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015. The island of some 100,000 residents has been transformed by the sudden new population of some 20,000 refugees and migrants, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Petros Giannakouris | AP

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison says the United States can and should take more than 1,500 Syrian refugees this year.

"We're talking about millions of people being food insecure," Ellison told MPR News host Kerri Miller. "People fleeing conflict zones. Mostly women and children." 

"We shouldn't make a distinction whether people are from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan," Ellison added. "If there is a humanitarian crisis that the world has to shoulder, the United States has always been part of the solution, and we should remain that right now."  

Ellison has traveled to the Turkish border and witnessed the refugee camps where he said he saw overcrowding, and children suffering. 

Ellison told Miller that the US can handle up to 85,000 refugees from all over the world. 

Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is looking "hard" at the number that the US can manage.