Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On the Need to Support Refugees Fleeing Violence

[Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Wednesday on the need to support Syrian refugees.  Leahy, who is also the Ranking Member of the State Department’s budget committee – the State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee – has long led efforts to support assistance for refugees.  He is the coauthor of the bipartisan Graham-Leahy Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to respond to the refugee crisis resulting from conflict in the Middle East.]

“Just a few weeks ago the world came together stunned and heartbroken over the image of a three year old Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach.  His tragic death focused our attention on the desperate plight of so many Syrians who have fled the horror of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad.  We called it the humanitarian issue of our day.  We called forth images of the Statue of Liberty and our proud history as a land of refuge for those fleeing persecution.

“Those who call now to slam our doors on even properly vetted Syrian refugees should remember that the people we will shut out are those very children who touched our hearts just weeks ago.  We are all horrified by what happened in Beirut and Paris.  We need an effective, thoughtful strategy for countering ISIS and other terrorist organizations.  That is something we should be debating, because what we have done so far is not working.  ISIS is our enemy.  The Syrian people fleeing ISIS are not.” 

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