Reuters International

Pro-refugee counter-protesters gather during another group's protest against the United States' acceptance of Syrian refugees at the Washington State capitol in Olympia, Washington, November 20, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will meet its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees a month ahead of schedule, the White House said on Monday.

The 10,000th Syrian refugee was scheduled to arrive in the United States on Monday afternoon, national security advisor Susan Rice said in a statement.

The White House had pledged to admit at least 10,000 displaced Syrians during the current fiscal year, which wraps up at the end of September.

"While refugee admissions are only a small part of our broader humanitarian efforts in Syria and the region, the president understood the important message this decision would send, not just to the Syrian people but to the broader international community," Rice said.

U.S. admission of Syrian refugees has been a hot button issue in the 2016 race for the White House, with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warning that violent militants could enter the country posing as refugees.

Trump has said that if he is elected he would persuade Gulf states to bankroll safe zones for Syrian refugees so they would not have to be brought to the United States.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)

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