Lift the cap on the US refugee quota in order to immediately resettle Syrians fleeing war

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Lift the cap on the US refugee quota in order to immediately resettle Syrians fleeing war

This petition had 260 supporters

Copy to: the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest: Senators Schumer, Vitter, Perdue, Grassley, Cornyn, Lee, Cruz, Tillis, Leahy, Feinstein, Durbin, Klobuchar, Franken and Blumenthal; UNHRC; IOM, Shannon Scribner, humanitarian policy manager at Oxfam America; Anna Greene, IRC’s director of policy & advocacy for US programs; Refugee Council USA

We Americans are willing and able to welcome and host Syrians seeking safe refuge from the devastating war in their country. We are families, young couples, empty-nesters, students and others with rooms to spare in our homes.  We stand united by our common respect for human dignity. We want to open our pantries, donate clothes, provide transportation, teach English, as well as provide monetary, emotional and social support.

We are demanding that the U.S. government lift its cap on the U.S. Refugee‬ Resettlement Program in order to greatly and immediately increase the number of Syrian refugees who are resettled in our country. Currently, that number is capped at 8,000 people, which is a pittance in proportion to the scope of the refugee crisis and the size of the U.S. population - 320 million people.‬‬‬‬

We know Syrians are not alone in their plight. There are 20 million of people across the world driven from their homes by violence, extreme poverty and persecution. We are focusing on Syria because it constitutes the single largest refugee crisis since World War II.

Since 4 years, in Syria, civilians are being targeted indiscriminately by all parties, including with the use of barrel‬ bombs. More than 300,000 people have died since the beginning of the armed conflict in 2011. Countless houses, hospitals and schools have been destroyed. Everyone has a story of tremendous and traumatic suffering, including injuries, hunger, thirst and grave human rights abuses. Four million have become refugees in Syria's neighboring countries.‬‬‬‬

Turkey‬ has taken in 2 million Syrians; conflict-torn Iraq is hosting more than 250,000; the relatively small countries of ‎Lebanon‬ and Jordan‬ have admitted 1.2 million and 600,000, respectively, where 2/3 of the refugees live in absolute poverty‬. For most of them, there is no escape from the squalid settlements, the humiliation of panhandling or the quiet despair of waiting out the war in the camps‬ set up by hosting governments or the UN‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

This massive influx of refugees is bringing the social infrastructure of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey to a breaking point. This has been forcing hundreds of thousands of Syrians to make a very difficult choice: stay and struggle with the life in camps and overcrowded host communities or try and make it to Europe.

In 2015 alone, due to the lack of legal, humane avenues to resettle in Europe, more than 2,600 refugees have died at sea, out of the 300,000 who have made the desperate and dangerous journey to reach safety by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. This is an embarrassment to the international community, and it is unacceptable that this loss of life be allowed to continue.

The real crisis‬ the world faces today is not the flow of millions of people across borders but rather the lack of courage‬ and compassionate leadership‬ from countries with the means to welcome and absorb those who have lost everything.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#OpenHeartsUS is inspired by the message of ‎solidarity‬ expressed by thousands of individuals, grassroots activists, and civil society aid groups across Europe. We are proud to follow their lead in calling on our own government to vastly increase the number of Syrian refugees it accepts: thus far the United States has allowed ONLY 1,500 Syrians to resettle. It is a humane, moral, legal imperative for the US to welcome those who had no choice but to flee because just overnight their houses were bombed and they were caught in the middle of armed conflict, violence and fear.‬‬‬‬

Building on the letter sent earlier this year by fourteen Senate Democrats, led by Dick Durbin and Amy Klobuchar, to President Obama, calling for the US to lead by example and greatly increase the number of Syrian refugees who are resettled in our country, we are calling on the US government to respond not with indifference and restrictions, but with open hearts and open doors. We believe it is time to step up to the plate.

We wish to honor the humanity‬ of Syrian refugees by offering our homes and giving them a chance to build a new life.‬‬‬

 Thank you for your time and consideration.


Signed with solidarity,

Petition Closed

This petition had 260 supporters