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A Marist View on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

When we approach the plight of Syrian refugees from a Marist perspective, we leave the anxiety of a chaotic, baffling and unjust equation and settle into the Light of Christ where we are nourished, find reason, and carry on to minister and bring that light to people who may be living in shadows.

Society of Mary USAAs men who follow the way of Mary, we tread humbly into situations where we can clear a path for God's mercy. We view the Syrian refugee problem as a situation needing deep human understanding and mercy.

We are pragmatic men who view the immigration patterns in our world systemically, which is to say that we look for root causes and solutions that fix them.

While the matter at hand may be more layered and amorphous, as with most of today's asylum seekers, we are looking into the faces of human misery, insecurity and are witnessing the trembling hands of victims hoping for some kind of chance.

When Pope Francis spoke to the joint session of Congress in September, he discussed immigration in a way he could not have in Europe. No nation in Europe sees itself as a "nation of immigrants," but here in the Americas, we all do; in fact, when the Pope spoke on this topic, he did so as a fellow citizen of the continent at large.

"We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners because most of us were once foreigners," he said. "I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected."

We are heartsick over the darkness that is spreading across our world but, as St. John tells us, "Perfect love drives out fear," leaving us with open hearts and clear minds ready for the tasks at hand.

Please Join Us in Taking Action

We hope you will contact your Governor, Congressional Representative and Senators to insist on the depoliticization of Immigration.

Call upon a return to a national mindset that opens doors warmly to immigrants, and quotes readily the final words of Emma Lazarus' poem, The New Colossus:

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I life my lamp beside the golden door."

Take Action

Contact your State Governor!

Call your U.S. Representative and Senators: 1-866-961-4293

Email the House Speaker's office: duppler@mail.house.gov

Déjà vu

Is the Syrian refugee crisis following a tragic,
historic pattern?

A poll from 1939, conducted by the American Institute of Public Opinion (directed by George Gallup), found Americans were wary before World War II about allowing refugee children, many who were Jewish, into their homes. In the year prior, 67 percent of Americans said the country should not allow any European refugees into the country.

In May of that year, 935 people — nearly all German Jews — set sail from Hamburg, Germany on a ship called the St. Louis, which was headed for Cuba, though for most of the Jews aboard, the ultimate destination was the United States. Most of the passengers had applied for U.S.visas and were planning to move from Cuba to the U.S. once a visa became available for them. A few weeks after its arrival the ship was ordered to leave Cuban waters after the U.S. visas were not processed. The ship circled off the coast of Miami when negotiations for the visas fell apart of good.

The ship started back across the Atlantic Ocean and the refugees were divided up and sent to various European countries. The luckiest St. Louis passengers were sent to Great Britain; all but one survived the war there. The rest went to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France — all countries that would later be invaded by the Nazis and their Jews sent to the camps. It is believed that 254 of the passengers on the St. Louis died in the Holocaust.

For more on this story, read here>

How the United States is Responding to the Syrian Refugee Crisis Right Now

U.S. Congress gives cold shoulder to Syrian refugees while terror-ravaged France prepares to welcome 30,000

Fri. Nov. 20, 2015 — A total of nine million Syrians have fled their country since civil war broke out in early 2011. The Obama administration announced in October it plans to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country, but the terrorist attacks last week in Paris have rapidly changed the landscape.

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives defied President Obama by passing a bill restricting the influx of refugees into the U.S. who are fleeing fighting in Iraq and Syria.

The chamber voted 289-137 for legislation that would impose new standards on the refugees, and halt the program for the time being, as fears grow of a mainland attack by an ISIS fighter posing as a refugee.





Map of Syria

We view the Syrian refugee problem as
a situation needing
deep human
and mercy.

Statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

U.S. should welcome Syrian refugees, work for peace

Nov. 17, 2015— On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the November 13 attacks in Paris, France and to the French people. I add my voice to all those condemning these attacks and my support to all who are working to ensure such attacks do not occur again—both in France and around the world.

I am disturbed, however, by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States.

These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris. They are extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives. We cannot and should not blame them for the actions of a terrorist organization.

Moreover, refugees to this country must pass security checks and multiple interviews before entering the United States—more than any arrival to the United States. It can take up to two years for a refugee to pass through the whole vetting process.

We can look at strengthening the already stringent screening program, but we should continue to welcome those in desperate need.

Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes.

Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.

As a great nation, the United States must show leadership during this crisis and bring nations together to protect those in danger and bring an end to the conflicts in the Middle East.

Syrian Refugees Welcome