Diverse Voices Speak Out Against Attempts to Block Refugee Resettlement
A recent wave of pro-refugee developments show that despite the rhetoric surrounding the debate, leaders and communities across the country support refugee families and their continued resettlement in the U.S. This week, faith leaders, lawmakers, and national security experts added their voices to the growing chorus speaking out against fearful rhetoric and the recent efforts to block refugee resettlement. As the compilation below shows, in the face of fear and xenophobia, communities across America have rallied together in support of refugees and their families.
See below for a sampling of recent developments. Find more details on recent and upcoming events at the #AmericaWelcomes site, here.
- Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger and twenty other top national security experts, former government officials, and former military leaders sent a letterto each Member of Congress expressing their opposition to proposals that would effectively halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States following the terrorist attacks in Paris. The national security leaders wrote, “We believe that America can and should continue to provide refuge to those fleeing violence and persecution without compromising the security and safety of our nation. To do otherwise would be contrary to our nation’s traditions of openness and inclusivity, and would undermine our core objective of combating terrorism.”
- Despite Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s pledge to refuse refugee resettlement in the state, Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) came out yesterday in support of the current refugee resettlement program. Said Senator Donnelly, “I have worked extensively to review our screening process for refugees to enter into the United States and Indiana. In recent weeks, I have had conversations and briefings with the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other officials from DHS and the Department of State. I feel confident after this review that the refugee screening process is exhaustive and utilizes the best information, technology, and appropriate caution to ensure the security of the United States and our Hoosier state. I believe that, in light of the security processes, extensive reviews, and safety steps put in place, that the refugee program should be allowed to move forward.”
- Also in Indiana, students at Indiana University-Perdue hosted a “Multicultural Friendship Feast” in support of refugees who have settled in the state.
- The Senate overwhelmingly rejectedan attempt by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to attach an anti-refugee amendment to recent Obamacare repeal legislation. The amendment, which called for a “pause” on issuing visas to travelers from more than 30 “high risk” countries and added burdensome screening regulations to an already stringent refugee screening process, failed 10-89.
- HIAS released a national letter signed by over 1000 Rabbis in support of welcoming refugees to the United States. The letter called on elected leaders to “exercise moral leadership” in the face of this humanitarian crisis. View the full letter and list of signatories here.
- More than 152 bishops, presidents of denominations and CEOs of faith-based organizations, as well as over 450 local pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders, joined with the Refugee Council USA and Church World Service to send letter to all Members of Congress stating their opposition to any legislation that would limit resettlement based on religion or nationality. The letter also calls for Members of Congress to act with compassion and welcome towards all refugees. View the full letter and list of signatories here.
- The Evangelical Immigration Table also sent a letter to Congress calling for compassion and hospitality for refugees and asylum seekers. View the full letter and list of signatories here.
- Evangelical groups and the #WeWelcomeRefugees campaignteamed up to organize a National Refugee Sunday for December 13. Churches around the country will be hosting local events offering prayers and fundraising for refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East.
- Scotts Hill Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC church hosted a group of 150 refugees families at a Thanksgiving dinner event. Click herefor photos of the event.
- Residents of Syracuse, New York hosted a holiday party welcoming refugees to their community. Photos from the #RefugeesWelcome party can be found here.
- In celebration of “Giving Tuesday”, community members in Salt Lake City, Utah held a #JustLikeUs water lantern festivalto raise money for refugees.
Support for refugees and their families only continues to grow. See below for a list of upcoming pro-refugee events across the country.
- Saturday, Dec. 5th,Hoosiers for Syrian Refugees March in Bloomington, IN
- Saturday, Dec. 5th, Demonstration against Racism, Islamophobia, and Warin Rochester, NY
- Sunday, Dec. 6th, Community Vigil: We Stand with Refugeesin St. Paul, MN
- Sunday, Dec. 13th, Care Packages for Local Refugeesin Marriotsville, MD
- Saturday, Dec. 19th, Demonstration to Welcome Syrian Refugeesin New Orleans, NC