WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 16, 2015) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates denounces the announcements by the Governors of over twenty states that they will not accept Syrian refugees in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.
Earlier this week, many politicians including sitting governors of over twenty states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Texas, and Massachusetts, expressed their opposition to accepting any Syrian refugees despite the fact that refugee resettlement is outside of their authority as state executives. These anti-refugee declarations come in light of suspicions that a suspect in the Paris bombing may have entered France by falsifying a Syrian travel document and pretending to be a refugee.
“We offer our condolences to the families of those killed and injured in the Paris, Baghdad, and Beirut terror attacks. They were innocent victims, whose deaths served no purpose but to further perpetuate a seemingly endless, and senseless, cycle of violence,” said Michael W. Kwan, OCA National President. “However, we are disgusted by individuals who would use the slaughter of innocents to score cheap political points. Despite knowing that they lack the legal authority or practical ability to fulfill their promises, some politicians from around the country have surrendered to the fear that terrorists hope to create by voicing their opposition to refugee resettlement.”
“Terrorists, by definition, seek political change by instilling fear in the populace. These Governors are exhibiting the type of cowardice terrorists hope to exploit,” explained Kwan. “Sadly, the fear these Governors have succumbed to is not based on reality. Nearly 1 million refugees have streamed into Europe over the past year and one, just one, is merely suspected of being one of the people responsible for the attacks in Paris. The United States has committed to admitting a mere 10,000 refugees with the luxury of properly vetting those admitted to the country; a luxury not afforded to our European allies as they struggled to process the overwhelming numbers streaming into their countries. It speaks volumes about the lack of confidence these politicians have in the ability of the brave, hard-working men and women of America’s intelligence and immigration services to protect the American people.”
“Though we appreciate the difficulties of resettlement and the necessity of heightened security measures to prevent the inflow of actual terrorists, these attempts to stop all refugee resettlement are thinly veiled attempts to prey on hate and stereotypes,” continued Kwan. “These politicians equate Syrian refugees with terrorists, when it is the refugees themselves that are most at risk from these extreme, oppressive terror groups. This recalls the same type of incendiary language that seemingly legitimized hate crimes against Muslim and South Asians after 9/11. Let us be clear, suggesting that all Muslims are terrorists implies that all Muslin refugees are as well; thereby painting them as objects to be feared. Such fear mongering often leads to the type of violence that ends in tragedy.”
“Forty years ago after the fall of Saigon, America did the right thing and opened its doors to hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees who fled ethnic and political cleansing in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Even though our nation’s efforts to resettle Southeast Asians were not perfect, the descendants of these immigrants make up a vibrant part of our country and economy today. By excluding refugees from our country we not only risk our reputation as a world leader in humanitarian crises, but also lose out on a new community of thousands of Americans who will contribute to our future prosperity as a nation,” concluded Kwan.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).