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Elected Officials, Religious Leaders, Security Experts Across The United States Speak Out For Syrian Refugees

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Earlier this week, we noted the growing chorus of Democratic leaders from the Senate and House who have slammed Congressional efforts to close the doors shut on refugees fleeing violence and death in Syria.

Now, that chorus has grown into a strong bipartisan movement condemning the baseless fear-mongering that reaches far beyond the halls of Congress.

World leaders, Democratic Presidential candidates, Republican leaders like Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. diplomats, Governors, Mayors, and conservative faith leaders are among the latest voices urging leaders in Congress to stand by our American values of welcoming refugees, and not give in to the fear spread by the likes of Donald Trump.

The following is a list of public statements of support for Syrian refugees. We’ll be updating this list over the next few days and weeks.

World Leaders Who Oppose Blocking Syrian Refugees

President Barack Obama:

“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.”

French President Francois Hollande:

Hollande said that “30,000 refugees will be welcomed over the next two years. Our country has the duty to respect this commitment.”

Presidential Candidates Who Oppose Blocking Syrian Refugees

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: “We can’t act as though we’re shutting the doors to people in need without undermining who we are as Americans and the values we have stood for.”

Senator Bernie Sanders: “We will not succumb to Islamophobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees who are fleeing Syria and Afghanistan. We will do what we do best and that is be Americans – fighting racism, fighting xenophobia, fighting fear.”

Former Governor Martin O’Malley: “There are women, there are children dying. They are fleeing the same sort of carnage that was unleashed on the people of France and the violence that brought down that Russian) airliner (over Egypt.) I don’t think it’s too much to ask of us that we do our part here.”

Senators and Members of Congress Who Oppose Blocking Syrian Refugees

Former Presidential nominee and Senator John McCain: “I don’t think any child, whether they are Christian or whether they are atheist or whether they are Buddhist, that we should make a distinction. My belief is that all children are God’s children.”

Senator Robert Menendez: “While security is paramount, we have a responsibility to  fulfill our commitment to this international crisis and simply closing the door to America and turning our backs on the children, women and families fleeing the atrocities in their homeland is not the answer to defeating terrorism.”

Senator Cory Booker: “We need to approach this humanitarian disaster with both practicality and compassion. These refugees are fleeing evil — they are victims, not villains. America is a beacon of freedom and hope, and we have a responsibility to show empathy and kindness to these families.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren: “These events test us. It is easy to proclaim that we are tough and brave and good-hearted when threats feel far away — but when those threats loom large and close by, our actions will strip away our tough talk and reveal who we really are. We face a choice. A choice either to lead the world by example or to turn our backs to the threats and the suffering around us.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “While we must and do subject any prospective-refugee to the most rigorous scrutiny and screening, it would betray our proudest values as Americans to slam the door in the face of desperate mothers seeking a safe place for their children. We can both welcome desperate, vulnerable families and ensure our own security.  No terrorist’s hate can overcome the strength of our values – and we will be unwavering in our fight against terror.”

Rep. John Conyers: “Rather than betraying our values, we must continue to focus on the most effective tools to keep us safe while also providing refuge for the world’s most vulnerable. Refugees are more thoroughly vetted than any other traveler or immigrant to the United States. We should not let kneejerk reactions keep us from being a beacon of hope for Syrian refugees and other refugees in the Middle East, Africa, and around the world.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez: “Let us maintain America’s commitment to being a beacon of hope for those fleeing oppression, violence, and intolerance; A haven for the religiously persecuted, whether they are Buddhists from Tibet, Christians from Iran, or Pilgrims from Europe. That is who we are.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego: “The vast majority of ISIS’s victims have been Muslim, and most Syrian refugees are families with children. ISIS is a terrorist organization and does not represent the beliefs of the Muslim religion. Allowing ISIS to stoke fear and anti-Muslim sentiment is counter to our American values found on the Statue of Liberty. We should not let fear caused by terrorism overcome our sense of morality.”

National Security and Foreign Policy Experts Who Oppose Blocking Syrian Refugees

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: “What the United States has done is to be open to people who are fleeing tyranny, who are fleeing danger, but we have done it in a very careful way that has worked for us.”

Former Sec of State Madeleine Albright:
“I am deeply disturbed by the calls to shut our nation’s doors to properly vetted Syrian refugees fleeing terrorism and persecution in their native land. These proposals are motivated by fear, not by the facts, and they fly in the face of our country’s proud tradition of admitting refugees from every corner of the globe and every faith background.”

Governors and Mayors Who Oppose Blocking Syrian Refugees

Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy:

“I think there is a lot of hysteria.  We’re not saying French people can’t come to the United States.  We’re not saying Belgians can’t come to the United States, why should we single out any one country.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown:

“Clearly, Oregon will continue to accept refugees. They seek safe haven and we will continue to open the doors of opportunity to them. The words on the Statue of Liberty apply in Oregon just as they do in every other state.”

California Governor Jerry Brown:

“I intend to work closely with the President so that he can both uphold America’s traditional role as a place of asylum, but also ensure that anyone seeking refuge in America is fully vetted in a sophisticated and utterly reliable way,”

Utah Governor Gary Herbert:

“Utahns are well known for our compassion for those who are fleeing the violence in their homeland, and we will work to do all we can to ease their suffering without compromising public safety.”

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper:

“Our first priority remains the safety of our residents. We will work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure the national verification processes for refugees are as stringent as possible. We can protect our security and provide a place where the world’s most vulnerable can rebuild their lives.”

Montana Governor Steve Bullock:

“Montana has a process in place for considering refugee settlement requests. We are reviewing those protocols to ensure that if a request comes (that) we take all appropriate steps to ensure that the safety of Montanans will not be jeopardized by their placement.”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton:

“I want to protect the people of Minnesota every bit as much those governors want to protect the people of their states. To stand up there with swagger, and say ‘I’m going to prevent the wrong people from entering my state’ to me is just ludicrous.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf:

“Pennsylvania will continue working with the Federal Government to ensure that all individuals have gone through the proper screening process. Governor Wolf wants Pennsylvania to continue to build on its rich history of accepting immigrants and refugees from around the world.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

Rejecting Syrian refugees would be akin to “conceding defeat of the American dream,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday in a sharply worded response to those urging him to keep the refugees out of the state.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin:

“The governors who are taking those actions are stomping on the qualities that make America great. There is an extensive screening process in place for refugees that come to America and Vermont. I have faith in that process. The Syrian refugees are fleeing horrific violence and war. They are men, women, and children who are fearing for their lives and have no place to go. The question we should be asking is how can we help.”

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo:

“We haven’t received any requests to help, so there’s nothing to decide at the moment. If a request is made, we will coordinate closely with the White House and with Col. O’Donnell. Anything Rhode Island may do in the future to support our nation’s efforts to respond to this humanitarian crisis and help those in need must include robust background checks and security procedures to keep Rhode Islanders safe.”

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy:
“Obviously in light of the tragedy in Paris, we have questions about the Department of Homeland Security’s screening measures for refugees entering our country. We are continuing to work with and await guidance from the appropriate federal agencies on screening measures that will be taken. With that said, if refugees – many who are children fleeing a horrific, war-torn country – seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut.”

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee:

“I think that our nation is tested from time to time. And I think this is one of those times to really dig deep and see what kind of character our nation and my state has. And I’ve always believed in my state, and the country has always been a place of refuge from those who are persecuted. Right on the Statute of Liberty they talk about the wretched refuge of your teeming shore. And I don’t know where we’ve had more people who fit this classification of victims.”

Mayor de Blasio says NYC will welcome refugees:

De Blasio said Tuesday that New York “is a proud immigrant city” and would welcome refugees trying to escape the conflict in their homeland.

Tallahassee Mayor Gillum Releases Response to Governor Scott’s Syrian Refugee Position:

“As Mayor, I pledge my continued support for providing the care and refuge needed by those escaping violence and persecution. My prayers are with the people of France, and the nations around the world who are facing this series of cowardly attacks. When we turn against each other as neighbors and global citizens, the terrorists win.”

Mayor Barry says Nashville should continue welcoming refugees:
“I believe that when Nashville can welcome new Americans that we should try the best we can to do that and give them the support that we need,” she said. “We have welcomed many new people to Nashville and they have become incredible community leaders and members of our economic growth.”

Mayor Warren says Rochester welcomes refugees, including Syrians:

“Refugees deserve our support and our help, and we shouldn’t allow terrorists and criminals to dictate changes to our great tradition of welcoming a stranger.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto stands by his pledge to accept Syrian refugees:

Mr. Peduto said the attacks were a chance “to test the words on the Statue of Liberty,” a gift from France dedicated in 1886.

Atlanta’s mayor disagrees with Georgia governor on Syrian refugees:

“My message is really simple: Atlanta has been and will be a welcoming city. It is an essential part of our DNA,” Reed said. “And I do not tie events to a faith. I tie events to horrible people who are soulless and engaging in awful acts.”

Mayors from Los Angeles, Chicago, and 16 other cities have signed a letter indicating their willingness to welcome refugees:

“Indeed, we are writing to say that we stand ready to work with your Administration to do much more and to urge you to increase still further the number of Syrian refugees the United States will accept for resettlement.”

Faith Leaders Who Oppose Blocking Syrian Refugees

Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals:

“Of course we want to keep terrorists out of our country, but let’s not punish the victims of ISIS for the sins of ISIS.”

Jenny Yang, World Relief:

A push by Republican presidential candidates to ban Syrian refugees “does not reflect what we’ve been hearing from our constituencies, which are evangelical churches across the country.”

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee On Migration:

“These refugees are fleeing terror themselves — violence like we have witnessed in Paris. Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.”