Thursday, November 19, 2015
I will vote against this legislation because it presents a false choice and it betrays the core values of the United States of America.
The United States, a country of immigrants, has a long history of welcoming the persecuted and oppressed. Our beloved Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, affirms America’s core values of welcoming these ‘huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’ And yet today, some politicians are demanding we close America’s door to Syrian refugees as they flee the brutality of ISIS and the Assad regime. These are families reeling from mass murder, teenage girls escaping sexual slavery, toddlers sleeping in dirty, dangerous encampments. The political discourse – and now legislation – targeting these refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks is truly beneath us.
Our nation must fight terrorism and global threats with every resource we have, and with all the might we can muster. We have the greatest military and intelligence operations in the world, and we must do much more to destroy ISIS. Here at home, our top priority is the safety of the American people, and our refugee vetting process must continue to reflect that. The current process involves rigorous screenings by multiple agencies, including the FBI, Homeland Security and Defense, to apprehend anyone who poses a danger and attempts to hide among the refugee population.
America must always hold its lamp high as a beacon of hope and opportunity. We must not succumb to fear or paranoia. And we must welcome these ‘huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’ This is who we are.