Dear President Trump,
As a voter, I’m urging you to rescind your Executive Order that slashes refugee resettlement and bans immigrants and refugees based on nationality and religion.
The refugees impacted by your decision are among the world’s most vulnerable people – women, children, and men – who are simply trying to find a safe place to live after fleeing unfathomable violence and loss. Instead of affirming the values of the United States by granting safety and protection to refugees, you have broken with more than 40 years of bipartisan American policy – and over 200 years of American tradition – by slamming the door on innocent people in their hour of need. Slashing the refugee ceiling and banning refugees on the basis of their religion is not only discriminatory, but also unlikely to make Americans safer. You must not bring this successful, bipartisan, and rigorously-screened program to a screeching halt. Even a temporary suspension of the resettlement program will reset the clock for refugees waiting to be granted entry to the US as medical and security checks expire, forcing refugees to start again from scratch.
The US has safely welcomed over 15,000 Syrians to our country. After enduring unspeakable violence in their homeland and years of waiting in refugee camps as they went through the multiple layers of our security screening process, they are finally beginning to rebuild their lives here in the US. Thousands more who are currently in the midst of the vetting process still need our support. They are being threatened by ISIS and other terrorist groups, watching their schools and hospitals be bombed, and their friends and family be killed. Like all of us, they deserve the opportunity to restart their lives in peace and security.
The provisions that deny admission to visitors and refugees to the US on the basis of religious tests are particularly egregious. While couched in seemingly-innocuous language about protecting minorities and re-oriented towards countries rather than individuals, both the intent and the outcome of the Executive Order is blatant discrimination against Muslims. The US has safely resettled tens of thousands of Muslim refugees over the last four decades who have not only become US citizens, but who have also enriched our country economically, socially, and culturally. Denying entry to our country and safe haven from harm to people based on their faith is an affront to the freedoms we hold dear and makes us less, not more, safe by demonstrating that we as Americans are willing to throw out our core values. As a country enriched by all of those who have arrived on our shores since our founding, we have offered safety to hundreds of thousands of people in need from around the world. They in turn have gone on to work in and contribute to every industry in our country from agriculture to medicine, from technology to our armed forces and police. Refugees are actually revitalizing the communities in which they are living, contributing their experience and energy to our workforce, and creating new jobs and economic opportunity. We must not forsake these people in their time of need, nor can we forsake what it means to be an American. I urge you to CONTINUE welcoming refugees from all countries, and to do all that you can to protect vulnerable people who’ve been forced to flee their homes.Thank you for your consideration. I am holding you in my head and heart and wish you God Speed.
CAVEAT: Oxfam gave me the words. I’m broadcasting them here and to the White House. Maybe Steve Bannon will take note; he seems to be the puppet master.