Posted by Arab American Institute on November 17, 2015 in Blog
Since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, the U.S. has resettled a total of 1,854 Syrian refugees. The United Nations (UN) estimates that 12.2 million Syrians are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance.
The calls to halt the resettlement of Syria refugees to the U.S. demonstrates that our country is veering away from the American tradition of resettling the world’s most vulnerable populations. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the U.S. resettled more than 800,000 Vietnamese refugees, and provided refuge to approximately 169,000 Bosnian refugees in the mid 1990s.
The U.S. has answered humanity’s call before and it must do so again for Syrian refugees today.
Yet, in light of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, France, an unprecedented number of politicians, presidential candidates, and pundits are taking advantage of the current climate of fear and anger to push forward their prejudiced and exclusionary policies that would close the U.S.’s doors to Syrian refugees. 26 governors have announced that they will temporarily, or permanently, reject the settlement of Syrian refugees in their state. Even worse, some presidential candidates are suggesting that for the first time ever we impose a religious test. And even before the attacks in Paris, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim groups like the Center for Security Policy have published material making outlandish claims against Syrian refugees, specifically claiming that "migration is jihad." This is the familiar Islamophobia we’ve seen before, but this time lives hang in the balance.
Here is the latest:
(1) 26 governors announced that they do not want, and in some cases will reject, Syrian refugees in their states.
(2) Several presidential candidates stated that they would not allow Syrian refugees into the U.S.
(3) Members of Congress are asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to add a provision to an upcoming must-pass spending bill that would refuse entry to Syrian refugees.
(4) The House Judiciary Committee will hold a briefing titled, “The Syrian Refugee Crisis and its Impact on the Security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” on November 19, 2015 at 9:00am. Please find more information here.
We need you to take the following actions to combat the current climate of bigotry and fear mongering:
(1) Contact your Governor with your concerns if he or she has told President Obama that your state will not accept Syrian refugees. Also, thank them if they have continued to keep your state’s doors open to Syrian refugees.
(2) Contact your member of Congress or local representative and call on them to reject the politics of hatred. If they are on the House Judiciary Committee, ask them to attend Thursday’s Committee hearing on the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
(3) If you are in DC, please attend the hearing to show support.
(4) Share this infographic regarding the vetting process for Syrian refugees