76 Md Legislators push back on Hogan Statements on Syrian Refugees

Gov. Larry Hogan's suggestion that Maryland would not welcome refugees from Syria's lethal conflict is countered by a letter signed by 76 members of the state's General Assembly urging a welcome for them.


The PM BlogSpace presents this news release from Maryland Welcomes Refugees:

“Seventy-six state legislators have sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan endorsing the settlement of Syrian refugees in Maryland. The letter follows an outpouring of letters and resolutions on the issue from local governments and political leaders across the state over the past four months.”

 [Progressive Maryland supports this project and opposes Gov. Hogan’s unfeeling remarks suggesting Maryland would not welcome these refugees from the brutal war convulsing their homeland.]

“The Maryland General Assembly letter, drafted by Senator Jamie Raskin, states, “Our nation and our state were founded to give people fleeing persecution a safe haven. Welcoming Syrian refugees according to the law, and not scapegoating them according to fear, speaks to our best traditions and hopes for the future.”

“Formal letters or resolutions in support of the settlement of refugees in Maryland have been passed by Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Howard County, Takoma Park, Rockville, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, and College Park. Public statements were also made by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and the MD ACLU and CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) sent an open letter to the governor, signed by 38 local organizations, urging him to welcome refugees to the state.  The letters and resolutions can be viewed here: http://www.md4refugees.org/statements.

“Maryland Welcomes Refugees, a grassroots organization formed to counter the hateful rhetoric about refugees and to support any refugees who are settled in Maryland, hailed the publication of the letter. 

‘Erinn Mansour, an activist leader in Maryland Welcomes Refugees, said “America has a tremendous capacity to help refugees. When we do this, we affirm our core values and make ourselves stronger and safer at home and around the world. There are approximately six million Syrian refugees, more than half of them children, but only about 3,000 have been resettled in the United States and only a few dozen in Maryland. We are committed to doing more.”

‘Thomas Nephew, one of the co-founders of the group, said “The Syrian refugee issue has been marred by bias and fear, including towards many fellow Americans. This letter doesn’t just advocate for refugees, as crucial and humane as that is.  Senator Raskin and the 75 other Maryland leaders who signed it are also reminding everyone of our shared hopes for a better state and country for all of us.”

‘Ruben Chandrasekar, the executive director of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Maryland, said “Syrian refugees flee terror and persecution and seek nothing more than peace and the ability to provide for their children and families. The IRC in Maryland is proud to help Syrian refugees as they work hard to rebuild their lives. In fact, most of the refugees that we serve get employed, pay taxes and are self-sufficient within six months after they arrive. They contribute positively to the social and economic fabric of our communities and enrich the lives of those who have taken the time to get to know them.”

Maryland Welcomes Refugees stated that “the organization will continue to advocate for and support settlement in the U.S. of Syrians and Iraqis fleeing war and oppression.  The Syrian refugee crisis is the largest displacement of people since World War II, and is a direct outcome of U.S. actions in the region.”

The organization added: “While it is important that so many of our state legislators have taken a stand, it remains critical that we as citizens continue to advocate strongly in support of the settlement of refugees in the United States.  The U.S. invasion of Iraq caused much of the destabilization of the Middle East and with it the carnage that is currently ongoing. We have a moral responsibility to the people of Syria. Please join our efforts to welcome Syrian refugees to this country!”

This news release originated from Maryland Welcomes Refugees. See also the account in the Washington Post, where the curious math standard identifies 76 signatories as “several dozen.”