We Can’t Turn Away the Oppressed and the Persecuted

Last night, I spoke on the House Floor against President Trump’s effort to bar Muslims and refugees. I read a letter from Muhammad, a Syrian refugee who, along with his family, settled in Bloomfield, New Jersey last month prior to the signing of President Trump’s executive order:

I want to read a letter from a Syrian refugee to the interfaith coalition sponsoring his family, which settled in Bloomfield, New Jersey last month.

Muhammad is a father of four. His family was one of the last to arrive prior to the signing of President Trump’s ban.

Muhammad wrote:

“I feel ashamed when I repeat the word: ‘Thank you.’
“I feel it’s very few and very weak in front of your interest and your generosity.
“The first thing I want to learn in the English language is how I can thank you more and more.
“America is beautiful because you live in it.
“We love you.”

These are the kinds of families the Trump administration wants to turn away.

They are the oppressed and the persecuted — the kind of people this country was founded for.

I understand the need to vet people coming to our country, and the importance of protecting our nation’s security. No one questions that at all.

But we cannot close our country to refugees like Muhammad and his family. We cannot sacrifice what it means to be American.

Muhammad is right: America is beautiful. And we can keep it that way by remaining a beacon of freedom and hope.

I yield back.

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