Last week we shared with you The 7 Countries Hosting Thousands of Refugees and mentioned how few Syrian refugees have been accepted in the United States. In today’s post we delve into the U.S. reaction to the Syrian crisis, looking at the responses of senators, mayors, and the Obama administration.
The unforgettable photograph of young Aylan Kurdi catalyzed reactions across the globe to the Syrian refugee crisis. Here in the United States, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated that if we don’t help Syrian refugees, we should “take the Statue of Liberty and tear it down.” Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) echoed this sentiment saying that the refugee situation “should challenge every moral fiber within us.”
Thousands of Syrian men, women, and children embark each day on their own treacherous journeys to escape the ongoing war. Their stories are those of hardship, struggle, and hope for survival. As Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) put it, “Sympathy must be followed by actions that embrace the downtrodden, while seeking to eradicate the causes of this mass flight.” While the United States struggles to find a response to the situation in Syria, we must extend support to our vulnerable Syrian brothers and sisters who have fled.
While some express concerns about resettling Syrian refugees, many members of Congress have risen to the challenge and called on the Obama administration to resettle 100,000 Syrians by fiscal year 2016 and improve the refugee resettlement process in the United States. Furthermore, the mayors of 18 large cities expressed their support for refugee resettlement, writing to President Obama, “Our cities have been transformed by the skills and the spirit of those who come to us from around the world… We have taken in refugees, and will help make room for thousands more.”
Across the nation, Lutheran congregations stand ready, willing, and able to welcome Syrian refugees into our homes and communities. We were disappointed by the Presidential Determination’s insufficient increase in refugee admission to 85,000—only 10,000 of whom are Syrians. In response, we renew our call to elected officials to authorize 100,000 Syrian arrivals in fiscal year 2016.
Join us by calling your U.S. representative and asking for better support for refugees or visiting lirs.org/syria for information and resources. We thank you for your commitment to serving and welcoming our vulnerable neighbors who are desperately in need.