Head of Catholic Bishops Urges Welcome For Syrian Refugees

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The head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration is urging acceptance of Syrian refugees, emphasizing that they are the victims of terrorism, and not the cause of it.

In a statement released November 17, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo said he is “disturbed” by calls for the end of resettlement efforts for the 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.

Elizondo said the vetting process for the Syrian refugees is extensive, and characterized those pushing back against resettlement efforts in the United States after the Paris terrorist attacks as “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,” he continued. “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.”

Similarly, the National Catholic Register reports that Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami said, “We shouldn’t allow our fears to cloud our better judgment. What happened in Paris was a terrible tragedy, but it is still not clear that any Syrian refugee was responsible.”