As people across the United States are donating to help Syrian refugees abroad and volunteering to welcome refugees in their communities, a number of Governors recently announced that they want to stop their states from resettling Syrian refugees. This is morally reprehensible and goes against our faith values and everything for which the United States stands. Some Members of Congress have even introduced legislation that would stop refugee resettlement altogether.
It is critical that public officials hear from their constituents NOW as decisions are being made that will drastically impact the lives of Syrian refugees and refugee resettlement in the United States.
The Syrian war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our generation. The people of Syria are victims of the violence and conflict inflicted by ISIS, the Syrian government and others. More than half the Syrian population has been forcibly displaced from their homes, and more than four million Syrians are now refugees in neighboring Middle Eastern countries and Europe. Over half of Syrian refugees are children.
Refugees selected by the U.S. government for resettlement are the most thoroughly vetted people to come to the United States. Everyone resettled undergoes rigorous security screenings by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Defense and multiple intelligence agencies, which includes identity verification and in-person interviews. This is not an either/or situation. The United States can continue to welcome refugees while also continuing to ensure national security. We must do both.
UPDATE: Many congregations have inspiring stories of helping resettle refugee families over the years. It is important to share your story and why your community wants to welcome Syrian refugees! A groundswell of faith communities around the country already are praying, collecting funds, advocating as congregations with members of Congress, hosting educational events and welcome dinners to discuss immigration and/or resettlement and working with a local resettlement agency to welcome families and individuals. E-mail national UCC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how your congregation is involved.Need more info? You can learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis via Global Ministries and One Great Hour of Sharing (Refugee Emergencies).
As people of faith, and followers of the refugee Christ, now is a critical time to let policy makers know you support welcoming Syrian refugees into our nation and communities. Tell your elected official you want to WELCOME Syrian refugees!