The world is experiencing an unprecedented refugee crisis, led by mothers seeking protection for their children and freedom from violence. During this time of global pain, it is vital that the United States remain the beacon of light that it has been to so many refugees throughout our history. It is our inheritance, and our obligation, to show compassion to people who have been displaced by terror and turmoil.
Doing so is not at odds with our national security. In fact, it strengthens it.
Yet, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Baghdad, Beirut, and Paris, some legislators want to suspend, delay, or defund refugee resettlement programs and assistance for individuals from Syria, Iraq, and other countries. This goes back on our promise to defend women’s rights everywhere.
We need you to raise your voice now so this doesn’t happen.
Please urge your senators and representatives to reject any legislation that includes provisions such as those contained in the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, or H.R. 4038, from Representative Michael McCaul.
The bill, now before the U.S. Senate, would create unnecessary delays and roadblocks in the U.S. refugee resettlement system. Any bill or amendment that is designed to target refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable populations in this way should be opposed.
Over 75% of refugees from Syria are women and children and more than half are under the age of 18.1 Americans should not leave these survivors of violence out in the cold, with nowhere to turn, and at extraordinary risk for continued gender-based violence. As a nation that has fought wars to defend against terrorists who violently restrict the rights of women, we must not allow this to happen.
Furthermore, these proposals will not keep the United States safer. The refugee process already ensures that applicants go through extensive and comprehensive screenings before resettlement in the United States; it is the most robust in the world, and refugees are the most vetted individuals to travel to the United States. By passing any legislation that may threaten the acceptance process, Congress would effectively prevent countless struggling women and children from obtaining the protection that they are entitled to seek and the refuge they require to avoid violence.
In response to disturbing legislative proposals, Tahirih Justice Center wrote this letter, urging lawmakers to reject misguided legislation like H.R. 4038.
In just a few days, 140 local, state, and national groups concerned about violence against women signed the letter.
Right now, we are working hard to make sure it reaches all of our nation’s senators so misguided legislation does not move forward.
Your voice at this juncture is vital.
Please stand in solidarity with refugees from all around the world who have experienced the pain and tragedy of senseless violence. Contact your lawmakers today, and ask them to protect the U.S. refugee and asylum system, not close our doors to those who need our help the most.
1. See United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “Stories from Syrian Refugees,” available at http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/syria.php, and International Rescue Committee, “Are We Listening: Acting on Our Commitments to Women and Girls Affected by the Syrian Conflict,” 2014, available at https://www.rescue.org/sites/default/files/resource-file/IRC_WomenInSyria_Report_WEB.pdf.