Truman Project Philadelphia Chapter Statement on Trump’s Executive Order on Refugee Visas and Immigration Vetting

Truman Project Philadelphia Chapter Statement on Trump’s Executive Order on Refugee Visas and Immigration Vetting

Philadelphia, PA- In response to President Trump’s recent executive order on refugee visas, the national security experts of Truman National Security Project Philadelphia Chapter released this open letter:

“These people, our fellow men and women, are caught in a tide of human suffering through no fault of their own in countries like Syria and Iraq. The executive order would effectively slam a door that has been open for the entirety of our recent history.

As Emma Lazarus wrote in her poem inscribed at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, we have proudly said: “Give me your tired, your poor [ . . .] The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” We cannot succumb to our baser instincts-- fear of the other, fear of the unknown. We must not capitulate to fear.

[ . . . ]

The executive order as it is proposed is against the spirit of our nation. Our country was founded on the principles of religious freedom and strength through pluralism. To discriminate against predominantly Muslim countries is disgraceful and unbecoming of the country we are and should continue to be.”

The full text of the letter is included below:

OPEN LETTER REGARDING PRESIDENT TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRATION VETTING

We, the members of the Truman National Security Project’s Pennsylvania Chapter, are deeply disturbed by  the executive order President Trump reportedly issued today regarding refugees.

The order would punish those who are trying to escape violence in their war-torn countries. These people, our fellow men and women, are caught in a tide of human suffering through no fault of their own in countries like Syria and Iraq. The executive order would effectively slam a door that has been open for the entirety of our recent history.

The executive order would also send the wrong signal to our allies in the fight against violent extremism. Vital partners in the fight against ISIL include Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, will undoubtedly feel betrayed by by an action that targets Muslim-majority countries for special regulation.

As Emma Lazarus wrote in her poem inscribed at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, we have proudly said: “Give me your tired, your poor [ . . .] The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” We cannot succumb to our baser instincts-- fear of the other, fear of the unknown. We must not capitulate to fear.

The executive order would effectively backpedal on our pledges to allies and friends. For example, translators who worked for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan and whose families are under direct threat from our enemies will now likely find it infinitely harder to secure the visas we committed to making available to them. It sends a message to those who would help us that America is unreliable, inconsistent, and a country that does not honor its commitments.

The executive order as it is proposed is against the spirit of our nation. Our country was founded on the principles of religious freedom and strength through pluralism. To discriminate against predominantly Muslim countries is disgraceful and unbecoming of the country we are and should continue to be. Muslims are deeply embedded in the fabric of America as teachers, doctors, civil leaders and artists. Thousands of American Muslims have and continue to serve, many with the last full measure of devotion, in our Armed Forces. Over a hundred thousand immigrants have taken the oath and risked their lives to protect our nation.

This executive order, in its current draft form, is not a step towards greatness--rather it is one towards the fear that we as a nation have always fought to oppose.

Sincerely,

Welton Chang, Chapter Co-Director

Anna Gohmann, Chapter Communications Director

Kerri Kennedy, Chapter Co-Director

Jonathan Krause

Dan Siegel, Chapter Political Director

Truman is a nationwide community, forged in the aftermath of 9/11, fighting for America's promise on the battlefield, along the campaign trail, and in the halls of government. We believe in a strong, smart, and principled foreign policy that sees the United States leading a growing community of nations towards shared security and prosperity.

Hailing from 16 chapters and 47 states across the nation, the more than 1,500 men and women in our community are veterans, frontline civilians, policy experts, and political professionals who share a common worldview: America is strongest when we use all of our tools--defense, diplomacy, development, and democracy--to engage the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

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