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Coalition to Congress and Governors: Scapegoating Syrian Refugees Not the Answer, America Can Do Better


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New York 

Coalition to Congress and Governors: Scapegoating Syrian Refugees Not the Answer, America Can Do Better

(New York, NY) In a matter of days after the horrific attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 129 innocent individuals, governors from at least twenty-eight states have made statements saying that they will not accept or welcome Syrian refugees, and Congressional representatives are proposing legislation to halt the flow of refugees to the United States.

The following is a statement from Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:

“It is frankly an embarrassment to our nation that several elected officials have made such hasty, inflammatory statements in the wake of the attacks on Paris. Now is not the time to try to politically capitalize on Friday’s tragic events, and fan the flames of intolerance and fear. But it is the time for us to come together as a nation and as a global community to show our resilience against these acts of violence. And resilience means that we will not close our minds - and borders - to those fleeing the same kind of violence and hatred that have caused them to leave their homes in the first place.

“We are grateful that several of our representatives - New York’s Governor Cuomo, New York City’s Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Syracuse's Mayor Stephanie Miner - have risen to this challenge by saying that New York will welcome refugees and not lose sight of our shared American values.

“We must keep our minds and hearts open at this critical time. The United States has accepted less than 2,000 Syrian refugees this year alone, with less than ten coming to New York, and only 10,000 more approved by the President for next year. These numbers are miniscule given the gravity of the Syrian refugee crisis, and we should be willing to accept thousands more given that the U.S admits fifty to seventy five thousand refugees each year. Before admission to the U.S, each refugee undergoes an extensive and thorough vetting process that takes up to three years. We are confident that this process can both provide the United States with the safety it needs, while continuing to maintain a policy of welcoming those in need of refuge.”


The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.