Fort Wayne mayor signs refugee-support letter to Congress
By WANE Staff ReportsPublished: November 20, 2015, 5:21 pm Updated: November 20, 2015, 9:45 pm
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry has joined with more than 60 mayors around the nation in a signed letter to Congress in support of the embattled Syrian refugee resettlement program.
The open letter, drafted Friday by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and signed by 61 other mayors including Henry, is intended to notify Congress of the mayors’ support for the federal government’s refugee resettlement system and to “recognize the importance of continuing to welcome refugees to our country and to our cities.”
Since last week’s terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 and injured some 350 more, more than half of the nation’s governors have blocked Syrian refugees from coming to their states while House Republicans pushed for the refugee resettlement program to be put on hold.
SEE | An open letter to Congress from the nation’s mayors: http://usmayors.org/RefugeeLetter/OpenLettertoCongressfromMayors.pdf
Certain city mayors around the country, though, disagree.
“In recent days some have suggested that Congress should halt the entry of refugees, particularly Syrian refugees, to this nation,” the letter reads. “We urge you to resist this call and take no action that will prevent Syrian refugees from entering the United States after they have completed the screening process.”
The letter explained that last year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a policy that promotes the nation’s work to protect and welcome refugees, and said the conference supports the refugee resettlement program as it aligns with that policy. The letter said the resettlement program includes a rigorous screening system which subjects potential refugees to the “most rigorous screening and security vetting of any category of traveler to the United States.”
It added: “Our nation has always been a beacon of hope for those seeking peace and protection from persecution. We urge you to take no action that will jeopardize this rich and proud heritage.”
In a statement to NewsChannel 15 late Friday, Henry said the city will welcome refugees as it has done before.
“While it’s not expected that the City of Fort Wayne will receive Syrian refugees, our community has been a leader in refugee efforts, most notably with our Burmese population,” Henry told NewsChannel 15. “Today’s letter from mayors across the country is consistent with Fort Wayne’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which states discrimination in social, cultural, and economic life in Fort Wayne against any person or persons because of race, sex, color, religion, disability, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, age or sexual orientation, is harmful to the social, cultural, and economic life of the city.”
The open letter was signed by prominent mayors like Bill de Blasio of New York City, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Muriel E. Bowser of Washington D.C., Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Michael S. Rawlings of Dallas. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg also signed it from Indiana.
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