December 11, 2015

ALERT: Tell U.S. House and Senate Leaders to Help Syrian and Iraqi Refugees

With the violent attacks in Paris and the tragic shooting in San Bernardino, 31 governors continue to call for a halt to resettlement of Syrian refugees to their states. The U.S. House of Representatives, with comparable intentions, passed H.R. 4038, The American Security against Foreign Enemies Act, which would effectively halt all resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States for a protracted time.

Some lawmakers continue to push for H.R. 4038 or to push for similar legislation to be included as part of the Omnibus appropriations bill that is required to be passed by December 11th. It now appears that Congress will pass a Continuing Resolution until December 16, 2015, to allow Congressional leadership to have an additional week to finalize the Omnibus by that time and likewise determine which riders will be incorporated into the final bill, including whether an anti-Syrian-resettlement provision will be attached to the omnibus.
Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued a statement which said, in part, “I am disturbed…by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris. They are extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives. We cannot and should not blame them for the actions of a terrorist organization.”

Moreover, Bishop Elizondo urged that, instead of using such tragedies “to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive. As a great nation, the United States must show leadership during this crisis and bring nations together to protect those in danger and bring an end to the conflicts in the Middle East.”

The decision is now in the hands of Congressional leadership. In the House, that includes Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; in the Senate, that includes Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid. These Congressional leaders need to hear from you, your neighbors, and fellow parishioners that you oppose H.R. 4038 and oppose attaching any such provisions to the Omnibus that would stop or halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Action: Send the following message to your Congressional Leaders:

Dear Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Reid:

Please oppose H.R. 4038 which would halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S., or similar legislation attached to the FY2016 Omnibus or introduced as separate legislation.

More information and a USCCB/MRS response toolkit on Syrian refugees is available at

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