The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) calls for the United States to continue distinguishing between terrorists and the victims of terrorism when deciding refugee policy.
“Of course we want to keep terrorists out of our country, but let’s not punish the victims of ISIS for the sins of ISIS,” said Leith Anderson, NAE president.
“We are horrified and heartbroken by the terrorist atrocities in Paris, but must not forget that there are thousands more victims of these same terrorists who are fleeing Syria with their families and desperately need someplace to go,” he said.
The United States has a strong track record for screening refugee applicants, having processed more than three million refugees over the past four decades. It is more thorough and careful than the screening for tourist and student visas to the United States. A tourist with a French passport does not need screening or a visa; a refugee from Syria must pass multiple careful tests for eligibility.
As evangelicals we care about those in need one-person-at-a-time and urge our government to carefully screen individual refugees but not exclude a class of refugees from one or two countries where they have suffered.
Anderson said, “Our system is designed to keep terrorists out and to help desperate families with little children. We want to help the victims of terrorism in the Middle East, not punish them.”