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USCIRF Calls for Continued Syrian Refugee Resettlement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 1, 2015

USCIRF Calls for Continued Syrian Refugee Resettlement

Rigorous individualized vetting allows the United States to both welcome Syrian refugees and protect security.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today reiterates its support for the United States to continue resettling Syrian refugees.  USCIRF is horrified by the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on November 13 and in Lebanon one day earlier and denounces in the strongest terms the brutality of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). USCIRF also stands with those who have fled this terror.

The United States must continue to live up to our nation's core values which are reflected in our leadership in resettling vulnerable refugees,” said USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George.  “That responsibility starts with a generous policy of admitting those Syrian refugees to the United States who are vulnerable to the most horrific mistreatment – including murder, rape, torture, and enslavement.

USCIRF understands the dangerous threat ISIL poses to the United States and the urgent need to ensure our nation's security. It is important to underscore that individuals seeking resettlement as refugees are among the most carefully vetted people to enter our country. Before being resettled in the United States, refugees must undergo rigorous interviews and background checks conducted by numerous U.S. government agencies. In the case of Syrian refugees, the U.S. government conducts additional security checks due to the circumstances in that country. 

This rigorous individualized vetting allows the United States to both welcome Syrian refugees and protect security,” said Chairman George. “USCIRF also calls on the United States to prioritize the resettlement of Syrian refugees based on their vulnerability. Throughout the region, Christians and members of some other religious minority communities have been targeted by ISIL for persecution – and in some cases genocide – because of their faith.  At the same time, we recognize that ISIL has also targeted both Shia and Sunni Muslims who have resisted their violent ideology.  In these instances, religion, as an important factor in determining vulnerability, may legitimately be taken into account in the prioritization process.

To read USCIRF's chapter on Syria in the 2015 Annual Report, click here.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or 202-786-0613.

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