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Time for U.S. Leadership on Refugees

The crisis of Middle Eastern refugees from Syria and elsewhere has added to a global situation in which more than 65 million people worldwide are displaced. In Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016, the U.S. accepted 70,000 and 85,000 refugees respectively. President Obama had set a resettlement goal of 110,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2017. However, President Trump’s executive order cut that number in more than half, to 50,000. Despite court orders blocking the executive order, the U.S. is still on track to resettle only 50,000 refugees this fiscal year. Sadly, those numbers are not enough to respond to the challenge. Now is the time to safely and securely open our doors to those seeking refuge, not slam them shut.

Repelled often in times of greatest need, and with our own recent memories of our grandparents and great grandparents who were refugees during the Holocaust, Jews recognize the necessity for havens for the persecuted.

The U.S. can play a vital leadership role by accepting additional refugees, urging European and other nations to accept more refugees, and by addressing the root causes of the crisis.  

Though no system is perfect, the refugee resettlement program is a lengthy and rigorous one designed to affirm a person’s status as a true refugee and to ensure they pose no threat. The U.S. refugee program allows us to uphold our values as a country that is a safe haven and beacon of freedom while also prioritizing national security.

Urge your members of Congress to help address this humanitarian crisis by opposing any effort to limit refugees of certain religious backgrounds or those from Syria. Instead, now is the time to increase the number of Syrian refugees welcomed by the U.S. and call on other countries to do the same.

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