What You Should Know about Syrian Refugee Resettlement before Tonight’s Debate

There’s a lot of misinformation swirling around the politisphere about Syrian refugees, and tonight’s primary debate is likely to be no exception. So when you gather round for your debate-watching parties, here are four facts to keep in mind.

1. Refugees are rigorously vetted.

In fact, they are more thoroughly screened than any other group entering the United States. Syrians already face additional security checks, and the process can take two to three years.

For a play by play of the whole process, check out this fact sheet.

2. National security leaders say we can protect our country and protect refugees.

A group of 20 of the nation’s top national security leaders, including Henry Kissinger, Leon Panetta, General David Petraeus (Ret.), and more wrote to members of Congress urging them not to obstruct refugee resettlement. “Refugees are victims, not perpetrators, of terrorism,” they wrote. “In fact, resettlement initiatives help advance U.S. national security interests by supporting the stability of our allies and partners that are struggling to host large numbers of refugees.”

Read the full letter here.

3. More than 75% of Americans say we are NOT providing enough support to protect Syrian refugees.

Human Rights First conducted a poll with Harris Interactive that shows most Americans believe the United States should lead the world in promoting human rights, including protecting refugees. And a strong majority believes the United States is not doing enough for Syrians in particular.

Take a look here at the full poll on U.S. attitudes about human rights issues.

4. Religious leaders support resettling Syrian refugees.

Many faith communities have taken a stand against inflammatory political rhetoric in favor of protecting poor and vulnerable refugees, in accordance with their faith traditions. As a key voting block, candidates should pay attention.

Here are some statements and letters to the government from EvangelicalJewishCatholic, and other faith-inclusive coalitions urging them to step up refugee protection efforts.


Published on December 15, 2015


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