Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Beyer, Cicilline, Pascrell, Jayapal Lead House Democrats Calling on Trump to Help with Syrians

May 2, 2017
Press Release
Letter asks President Trump to reverse stance on refugee program, maintain humanitarian assistance

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Reps. Don Beyer, David Cicilline, Bill Pascrell, Jr., and Pramila Jayapal yesterday led 106 House Democrats in calling upon President Trump to help innocent Syrians by rescinding his Executive Order suspending the Refugee Admissions Program and to maintain support for humanitarian aid programs that assist Syrians in crisis.

“It is time for the United States to step up and show the world that we are not indifferent to the grave suffering of the Syrian people. Again, we urge you to safely resettle Syrian refugees into our country, and to maintain funding for those who need our help the most. Doing so would maintain American humanitarian leadership and send a message of hope to oppressed people all over the world,” wrote the Representatives.

The letter was supported by the International Rescue Committee and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, signed by 106 Democratic Members of Congress:

Don Beyer, David Cicilline, Bill Pascrell, Pramila Jayapal, Zoe Lofgren, John Conyers, Jr., Eliot L. Engel, Bobby L. Rush, Alcee L. Hastings, Sheila Jackson Lee, Joe Crowley, Luis V. Gutiérrez, Chellie Pingree, Barbara Lee, Gwen Moore, Steve Cohen, Julia Brownley, Ted W. Lieu, Frank Pallone, Jr., Suzanne Bonamici, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mark DeSaulnier, Grace F. Napolitano, Earl Blumenauer, Tony Cárdenas, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Filemon Vela, Bradley S. Schneider, Val Butler Demings, Peter Welch, Debbie Dingell, Niki Tsongas, Rick Larsen, Doris Matsui, Kathy Castor, John K. Delaney, James P. McGovern, Mark Pocan, Paul D. Tonko, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Colleen Hanabusa, Judy Chu, Jamie Raskin, Ted Deutch, Raúl M. Grijalva, Elijah E. Cummings, Alan Lowenthal, Carolyn B. Maloney, Robin L. Kelly, John Yarmuth, Jerrold Nadler, Adam B. Schiff, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Mark Takano, Nydia M. Velázquez, Gerald E. Connolly, Bill Foster, Robert A. Brady, Dwight Evans, Seth Moulton, Derek Kilmer, Norma J. Torres, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Stephen F. Lynch, Anna G. Eshoo, Louise Slaughter, Gene Green, Adriano Espaillat, Elizabeth H. Esty, Michael E. Capuano, A. Donald McEachin, G. K. Butterfield, J. Luis Correa, Gregory W. Meeks, Lois Frankel, David E. Price, Juan Vargas, José E. Serrano, Albio Sires, Jared Polis, Grace Meng, Tim Ryan, Cheri Bustos, Thomas R. Suozzi, Ruben J. Kihuen, Sander M. Levin, Salud O. Carbajal, Yvette D. Clarke, Ruben Gallego, Jan Schakowsky, Matt Cartwright, Bobby Scott, Betty McCollum, Suzan DelBene, Keith Ellison, Adam Smith, Al Lawson, Jr., Katherine Clark, Mike Doyle, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Anthony G. Brown, Jimmy Panetta, Ben Ray Lujan, Nanette Diaz Barragan, Ro Khanna, and Jared Huffman.

Dear Mr. President:

In light of the recent U.S. airstrikes in Syria and your acknowledgment and condemnation of the cruel atrocities the Syrian government has committed against its own people, we urge you to immediately take effective action to help innocent Syrians. As you stated, “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”

That is why we are asking you to immediately rescind your Executive Order dated March 6, 2017 which suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and to fully mobilize U.S. government efforts to assist Syrian refugees from this horrific war who are simply seeking safety for themselves and their families. 

In 2016, the United Nations identified an estimated 13.5 million Syrians who require humanitarian assistance inside Syria. Over five million Syrians have fled dangerous conditions to seek safety as refugees in neighboring countries. We believe it is imperative that the U.S. regain its leadership role and help resettle the thousands of Syrians who have been victimized by an oppressive regime. 

The U.S. has a long history of resettling refugees. Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted individuals entering the U.S., undergoing the scrutiny of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center and the intelligence community. Syrian refugees are also subject to “enhanced” review which involves an additional layer of scrutiny at DHS prior to an in-person interview by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicator. At a time when there are more refugees, asylum-seekers, and displaced persons than at any time since World War II, the U.S. cannot stand idly by.

We also ask that you prioritize supporting U.S. foreign aid, which helps respond to humanitarian crises around the world. American assistance is a crucial lifeline and helps maintain global stability worldwide.  Cuts to American foreign assistance, particularly to humanitarian programs, will only exacerbate the suffering of millions of refugees and further destabilize the Middle East. Global threats like ISIS grow out of instability, and the humanitarian crises that result, if left insufficiently attended, only lead to further destabilization. We strongly urge you to maintain our funding commitment to effectively prevent these global threats from finding roots.

It is time for the United States to step up and show the world that we are not indifferent to the grave suffering of the Syrian people. Again, we urge you to safely resettle Syrian refugees into our country, and to maintain funding for those who need our help the most. Doing so would maintain American humanitarian leadership and send a message of hope to oppressed people all over the world. Thank you for your consideration, we look forward to your response and future actions.