Anti-Refugee Bill Moves to Senate


As anti-refugee legislation moves to the Senate, at least one supporter -- in this case Marco Rubio -- is telling the truth about it.

Senator Rubio just admitted that the bill would block the “vast majority” of Syrian and Iraqi refugees from coming to the U.S. [1] That’s a truth many supporters of the bill refuse to admit.

The misnamed, and vaguely Orwellian sounding, American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act puts major bureaucratic hurdles in the way of desperate people fleeing wars and carnage for which the U.S. bears some responsibility. Most, if not all, would not be welcomed.

Forty-seven Democrats--including Montgomery County's John Delaney--joined all but two Republicans in supporting this fear-mongering reaction to the tragic attacks in Paris. We can’t let the Senate make the same mistake.

Please make a call to both Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Sen. Ben Cardin today.

You can reach their DC offices via the Congressional switchboard at 844-735-1362

You can say: “Please oppose all bills that would make it difficult or impossible for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to come to the United States. I support offering humanitarian funding and resettlement for refugees who are fleeing unthinkable violence.”

The bill doesn’t “balance compassion with security” as some supporters argue. It fails on both scores. The bill adds no new security measures to what is already a thorough vetting process. But the political hurdles it creates could bring resettlement grinding to a halt.

Rubio offered, as one alternative vetting method to replace current methods, a “common sense test” that would block “the vast majority” of Iraqi and Syrian refugees but allow “a 5-year-old orphan, a 90-year-old widow, or well-known Chaldean priest”.[2]

Instead of Rubio's subjective test, Senator Ted Cruz is offering his own even more blatantly discriminatory test: only allowing in Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria. These aren't serious alternatives or workable improvements that keep the U.S. safer.

The problem is that these critics are bashing the current process without acknowledging that this rigorous, non-discriminatory process is working. It includes vetting by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Defense and multiple intelligence agencies long before refugees arive in the U.S.. 

Can you call your Senators today via the Congressional switchboard at 844-735-1362?

You can say: “Please oppose all bills that would make it difficult or impossible for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to come to the United States. I support funding for and resettlement of these refugees who are fleeing unthinkable violence.”

Want to do more? 

  • Call Gov. Hogan and tell him that he's wrong about Maryland. We welcome refugees. Call him at 410-974-3901
  • Ask your local town or city government to pass a resolution in support of refugees. We have a sample here.
  • Sign the Maryland ACLU's petition to Gov. Hogan.

The moral stakes are simple -- the golden rule on a global scale. What would we want for our families if our communities were torn apart by violence?  The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming the persecuted. Now is no time to turn our backs on that.

Thank you in advance for your compassionate action.


Know the score:  How did Maryland senators and representatives vote in 2013 and 2014 on issues related to peace? Check out our list of votes of representatives in Maryland.

Resources and friends: We work closely with national, state and county-based peace and justice groups. Here are some of those with whom we collaborate.