The U.S. Congress should be ashamed. Today, House Republicans, joined by 47 Democrats, hastily passed a bill that would effectively end the current U.S. refugee program for refugees fleeing the brutal civil war in Syria — a war our government is actively involved in.
This week, following the tragic terror attacks in Paris, politicians in our country have flooded the airwaves and the internet with racist and alarmist rhetoric. At a time when we should be embracing all victims of violence, they are asking us be hateful.
Senator Ted Cruz and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have called for excluding all but Christian refugees, an idea both inhumane and repugnant to our basic values. More than half of governors have said they’ll reject refugees. This is xenophobic posturing — blocking refugees is not within their authority — but it’s damaging all the same.
President Obama has vowed to veto the bill, reminding Congress that the refugee screening process is extremely rigorous and lengthy, taking 18 to 24 months. That’s far too long.
Only 2,200 Syrian refugees have come to the U.S. since the civil war began in 2011, according to the Washington Post. The White House proposes adding an additional 10,000 over the next year. Meanwhile, the civil war has driven more than 11 million people from their homes. They are looking for places to rebuild their lives. We can and should do a lot more.
Closing the door to refugees is about hate and fear — not about safety. There’s no evidence refugees had anything to do with the Paris attacks, or that curbing refugees would make anyone safer. It won’t.
France has chosen the wiser path, reaffirming its commitment to take 30,000 Syrian refugees. In the wake of their own suffering, the French haven’t turned against the most vulnerable in their moment of greatest need.
We reject racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance. We join with all voices of conscience that mourn victims of violence around the world and call for a nationwide welcome of refugees.