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Refugees, Civic and Faith Leaders in Front of the White House to Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban

On Thursday, March 16th, SCN participated at a press conference organized by one of the oldest resettlement organizations, HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) in front of the White House.

IL Congressman Luis Gutierrez was the keynote speaker and partner organizations - ACLU, Human Rights First, Church World Services, along with SCN and others spoke to oppose President Trump’s Refugee Ban. Other partner organizations who were in attendance were Oxfam America, Islamic Relief, RefugeesAreWelcome Coalition, Shoulder-to- Shoulder and many others were all standing and declaring - We support refugee resettlement and we #ResistTheBan!

President Trump’s order was to go into effect on March 16th but a Federal District court in Hawaii issued a restraining order on the Trump administration’s executive order banning refugees and Muslims.

“We at the Syrian Community Network are elated at this new halt which will enable all resettlement organizations, volunteer groups and organizations like SCN to welcome more refugees to our communities. We will continue to fight the good fight with our civic and faith partners" said Suzanne Akhras Sahloul Executive Director of SCN. 

The restraining order stops three parts of the executive order: the provision to bar individuals from six Muslim-majority countries; the four-month suspension of refugee resettlement. 

SCN’s full statement 

The Syrian community network is a nonprofit organization founded in Chicago to support incoming Syrian refugees. We currently have chapters in San Diego, Atlanta and Phoenix.  

We are deeply disappointed at the decision of President Trump to place a 2nd temporary ban on the resettlement of Syrian refugees and refugees from Muslim countries This decision goes against American values and humanitarian principles. This act would bar Syrian refugees and refugees from other nationalities from taking refuge in the land that was built on the premise of being open to people who are fleeing persecution and oppression. Syrian refugees must go through the most stringent vetting process before being resettled or considered for resettlement in the United States.  The decision will prevent families from being reunited. 

The Syrian crisis has entered its 7th year with no end in sight. Close to 5 million Syrians have registered as refugees with the UNHCR, over 3 million Syrians are unregistered living in various surrounding countries, and over two million are internally displaced persons(IDPs) inside Syria - that’s half of the population of Syria displaced since 2011. Only 18,000 out of 5 million registered Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States, almost all of them are families with women and children. They are adapting quickly in their new host cities. They are embraced by all faith groups and by the vibrant and resourceful Syrian American Diaspora communities in the US.

The new executive order of President Trump - and now halted again -  is unfair and will send the wrong message to the world. Refugees are fleeing oppression and terrorism and they want to start a new life in the land of freedom and opportunity. Syrian refugees deserve our sympathy and support. They are assets to their communities, not a threat 

One family that stands out is Hoda Rajoub's family resettled in Chicago. Her oldest son was supposed to travel with her to the US in December, but his wife was about to give birth and the for-safety reasons, Hoda's son and pregnant daughter in law were left in Jordan, waiting to resettle after Hoda's daughter in law gave birth. They had gone through the vetting process, their backgrounds checks were complete, Hoda's son, daughter in law and new baby granddaughter are waiting to travel and if they do not travel soon, their background checks will expire and they must restart the vetting process all over again

One day before President Trump’s 2nd Executive Order, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order. If left unchecked, Trump’s policy—would keep families apart and prevent thousands of refugees from finding safety in the United States.

This is not who we are, we are called on to stand with the refugee community, and to stand with the most vulnerable. As Americans, we must stand up for our principles and values, will you join us!! 

 

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