National Security Leaders Statement of Principles on America’s Commitment to Refugees

The world today is gripped by the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Some sixty million people – half of them children – have fled persecution and violence, the highest number ever recorded. From Syria to Burma to Eritrea, desperate people are seeking freedom from brutal regimes, lawless militias, and genocidal terrorist groups. Thousands have died trying to find safety and millions are struggling to survive.

The United States has long been a refuge for those seeking safety and freedom, and for a simple reason: Americans believe their compassion and openness are sources not of weakness but strength. The demonstration of these qualities accords with the core ideals on which our nation was founded, and on which our greatness rests. For more than two centuries, the idea of America has pulled toward our shores those seeking liberty, and it has ensured that they arrive in the open arms of our citizens. That is why the Statue of Liberty welcomes the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” and why President Reagan stressed the United States as “a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness.”


Published on June 23, 2016


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