The New York Times carried a story today about a Syrian family whose members waited three years to be accepted into the U.S. The story includes the work of Chris George, and his wonderful Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven, which has done incredible work getting new Americans settled.
The family, whose members waited in Jordan, in a camp similar to the one pictured above, was destined to move to Indiana, but the governor there, Mike Pence, is among 26 governors who refuse to allow Syrian refugees in their states. More than half of the country’s governors are closing their states to people fleeing the kind of carnage we saw in Paris this weekend. Oddly, those governors are acting as separate parties of one. They are not (and thanks, Leftover) legally capable of blocking refugees from their states. So letters this like one, from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
You can read the story here. Rock on, Chris, who, according to the story, accepted the request to settle the Syrian family “without hesitation.” As it should be, both here in Connecticut and elsewhere. We. Are. All. Refugees. If you want to help IRIS do their work, go here.
Governors cannot legally stop refugees from entering their state. They can make it more difficult for everybody. But they can’t stop it… any more than governors who voice support for refugee resettlement in their States can stop the kind of American bigotry that will…eventually…radicalize a significant number of those youngsters in your graphic.
They may not be legally able to do this, but they can certainly freeze out organizations that would normally step up — as happened in Indiana. But your point is well taken and I’m going to include this, credit to you. Thanks, man.
Whether or not Pence’s actions were lawful has not been determined. There are a myriad of factors…including prior agreements with the federal government attached to funds supporting the services mentioned in that letter…that need to be considered. I’m hoping that Miller and the Indiana ERI sue Pence and Indiana to clarify the issue.
Pence and his cohorts…which now include at least one Democratic Party governor who just happens to be running for a Senate seat…will make things as difficult as possible. Obama should force the issue…legally. But he won’t. And we know why.
Please, someone hire me to be the yard dog on a short chain on this.
The ACLU steps up, filing a lawsuit on behalf of ERI asserting ” that Pence’s decision to bar Syrian refugees violated the Constitution, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the federal government’s exclusive authority over immigration.” WaPo
Oooh, good update. Thank you.
The National Association of Evangelicals has issued a statement in support of continued resettlement of Syrian refugees. The USCCB as well.
Doesn’t seem to be swaying public opinion much. Or politicos’ opportunism either.
I had not seen this. I’m posting it, credit to you. Thanks, man!
Part of the issue is, do you want to send refugee family who has been through traumatic experiences to a state that doesn’t welcome them, or to a state who does? If we share our experiences with the other states and share the stories of the people who are fleeing (much more than the label “refugee”), then maybe the other states will become more welcoming.
I guess I mentioned this below already, but I’ll add a little more since about 15 of us from our church met with Chris George last night. He’s been very busy with the press lately, which is helpful. The statements made by churches referenced above are helpful. Education on what being a refugee means and the process involved (because people don’t enter the US by walking in and saying “I’m a refugee”, like some may believe) is helpful. But eventually, for at least the people in CT, it involves doing. This is where community groups and congregations can help – must help. In fact, in order for IRIS to do what they propose to do over the next year, they must partner with congregations and community groups. Many have stepped up. But more are needed. And once resettled, friendships developed with a congregation/group, and continued mentoring can make a big difference for a family.
P.S. Donations from people of Indiana have been coming in for the family diverted here. Maybe there is hope.
This is where I hope welcoming congregations step in to mentor and care for refugee families. Though there will always be haters out there, a supportive community group or congregation could hopefully at least partially shield a family from negative effect and encourage the rest of the community to do the same. It is my hope that when actual people who have fled to save their lives show up, their names and stories will replace the faceless label, “Syrian Refugees”, and erase much of the public fear. They will need people who are gifted at sharing stories (DJ) to build bridges from labels to being human.
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