JALSA to Governor Baker: Do not turn our backs on refugees

JALSA has joined with over 80 refugee and immigration law experts, humanitarian aid organizations, faith, labor and civil and human rights groups to send a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate on Tuesday, urging them to “demonstrate leadership by speaking out against the scapegoating of any group, during this time of heightened tensions.” JALSA has forwarded that letter to Governor Baker asking that we in Massachusetts not turn our backs on the hundreds of thousands of helpless refugees fleeing Africa and the Middle East out of fear that there may be potential terrorists among them.

“Horrible as the recent events in Paris (and Beirut and elsewhere) are, they are not a justification for abandoning compassion in a time of such dire need,” stated JALSA Executive Director Sheila Decter. “While history teaches that no wave of the dispossessed will be without its problematic members, the moral imperative of giving succor to the desperate dictates that we run that risk. To turn our back on refugees would be to betray our nation’s core values.”

The letters delivered to Governor Baker and to our Congressional delegation emphasized that refugees are the most thoroughly vetted group of people who come to the United States, involving multiple intelligence agencies, interviews, investigatory background checks –a process that typically takes more than two years and often much more before the refugee would arrive in the U.S.

Recognizing that acceptance of a share of refugees is not entirely without danger, JALSA’s statement says that absolute comfort and safety are not valid considerations when the world is faced with a humanitarian disaster of such proportions.

Attachment:  See:  http://www.hias.org/sites/default/files/sign-on_letter_protecting_refugees_-_november_17_2015.pdf