The Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma is alarmed and dismayed at the announced plans by the Trump administration to stop the processing and acceptance of Syrian refugees, as well as refugees from predominantly Muslim countries.
In late January, 2016, having returned from a trip to the refugee camps where Syrian refugees have been held, Congressman Steven Russell, Republican Representative of Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District, made the public statement that the vetting process was far more thorough and exhaustive than he had believed previously. He was impressed with the safety and reasonableness of admitting these people to the United States.
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On February 8, meeting with Christian, Muslim, and Jewish representatives of the Interfaith Community, he re-iterated that observation and offered to convince his fellow Congressmen that admitting these vetted Syrian refugees is safe and also a moral responsibility. That process has been exceedingly slow.
The extensiveness of the vetting process for refugees has been documented. It also has been painfully slow. There has been no evidence that people admitted via this process have posed any danger to our nation. These people have suffered terrible privation and danger. For our nation to continue to let in just a trickle is bad enough. To stop even that trickle goes beyond being inhumane.
We urge President Trump to refrain from his plans to stop their acceptance to our country, and we urge our legislators of both parties to resist this action against Syrian refugees in particular, and Muslim refugees from other nations.
We are a nation predominantly of immigrants, with each new wave of immigrants bringing new ideas, innovations, and energy to American industry and culture. They have added to the labor pool, and have become job-creators and investors in our society. The words on the Statue of Liberty remind us to provide safe harbor and a new home to these immigrants from war-torn countries. Few of us really can understand how devastated their lives have been. By standing up for these new immigrants, you/we will also be standing up for the values on which our country has stood for generations.
Rabbi Abby Jacobson
President, The Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma
Carl J. Rubenstein, MD
Immediate Past-President, The Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma