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Welcoming refugees to Illinois does not need to mean sacrificing safety. That’s according to the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and a group of 30 human rights advocates, who denounce Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for denying entry of Syrian refugees to the state.
“We can welcome refugees while ensuring our own security,” the group of immigration law experts, researchers and human rights experts wrote to Rauner. “To turn our back on refugees would be to betray our nation’s core values.”
Calling refugees “the most thoroughly vetted group of people who come to the United States,” the group noted that refugees typically undergo a two-year process involving review and approval by multiple government agencies.
The group penned the letter after Rauner said he would not allow Syrian refugees to settle in Illinois, after attacks in Paris this week have been linked to terrorists from Syria. Rauner is one of at least 31 governors who have said they won’t accept refugees in their states.
Declining entry for the refugees “Would send a demoralizing and dangerous message to the world that the United States judges people based on their nationality and religion,” the group wrote Rauner.
The IHRC and its fellow advocates further cautioned: “Closing the door to refugees would be disastrous for not only the refugees themselves and their family members in the United States who are waiting for them to arrive, but also for our reputation in the world.”
Refugee-rejection proposals “would jeopardize the United States’ principled leadership in the world,” said the group, which includes officials from the Syrian Community Network, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Northwestern University Center for Forced Migration Studies and the University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights.
John Marshall’s IHRC is launching its Human Rights for Syrians Initiative (HRSI) in January. The HRSI establishes a network of advocates, attorneys, and service providers in the United States to support Syrian refugees and asylum seekers. Click here to learn more.