In light of the tragic attacks in Paris, we must stand together with vulnerable Syrian refugees who seek safety and a future. Reacting out of fear, Governors of over 25 states along with Members of Congress, have proposed extreme measures that would exclude all Syrian refugees from the protection of the United States resettlement system. This is not an acceptable response to this tragedy.
Our faith calls us to stand for welcome, even in the wake of fear."Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else." 1 Thessalonians 5:15 As people of faith, we cannot turn our backs on our Syrian brothers and sisters as they flee the same violence from which we seek to protect ourselves.
The United States refugee resettlement program has a sophisticated and multi-layered approach to vetting any prospective refugee prior to entering our country. Indeed, refugees are the most highly screened population that enters the United States. The current screening processoften takes years to complete and includes face-to-face interviews, database checks, and biometrics by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Defense and multiple intelligence agencies.
While the United States must balance the integrity of our resettlement system with our desire to provide protection to vulnerable refugees, we must not bow to fear. As Christians, as Americans, and as global citizens we must stand for welcome. We will keep you informed as Congressional action continues to center on Syrian refugees. I remain grateful for your commitment to vulnerable populations, especially as so many are responding with fear rather than welcome and protection.