BALTIMORE - Thirty nine civil rights, faith, labor, humanitarian, social justice, and immigrant and refugee service provider organizations have joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland and the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Maryland (CAIR) in sending a letter to Governor Larry Hogan in support of welcoming Syrian refugees and in opposition to the governor's current policy of requesting that the federal government not send Syrian refugees to Maryland.
"It is vital that Governor Larry Hogan understand that there is strong and growing support for welcoming Syrian refugees to Maryland," said Sirine Shebaya, staff attorney directing ACLU of Maryland's immigrant's rights advocacy. "Singling out refugees makes no sense, since they are the most extensively vetted group of immigrants ever to enter the United States. We call on Governor Hogan to reject discriminatory, fear-mongering calls to ban Syrian refugees from our country and instead welcome them to our state."
"We have a moral obligation to recall our shared humanity as the refugee settlement debate rages on," said Zainab Chaudry. "Our country is a country of immigrants who enrich and strengthen it. As the world witnesses a humanitarian crisis of unparalleled proportions in recent years, we cannot allow the politics of xenophobia and bigotry to persuade us to turn our backs on these refugees who need our help the most."
Quote from the letter: "The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. More than 4 million Syrians have fled from their home country to escape conflict and violence, and 6.5 million are internally displaced. Maryland has a long and proud tradition of welcoming with open arms those who flee persecution and death. We urge you to reconsider your statement asking that Syrian refugees not to be directed to our state, and to stand with your constituents in upholding that proud tradition."
List of organizations:
American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland
Asylee Women Enterprise
Baltimore Palestine Solidarity
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
CASA de Maryland
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
Council on American-Islamic Relations - Maryland
Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance
Immigration Clinic, University of Maryland Carey School of Law
Immigration Outreach Service Center
Intercultural Counseling Connection
Interfaith Action for Human Rights
International Rescue Committee in Maryland
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jews United for Peace
Kids in Need of Defense - Baltimore
League of Women Voters of Maryland
Libertarian Party of Maryland
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition
Maryland Legislative Task Force for Islamic Affairs
Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
Montgomery County Young Democrats
Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County
NAACP - Maryland State Conference
Open Society Institute - Baltimore
Peace Action Montgomery
Public Justice Center
Service Employees International Union 32BJ
Soccer Without Borders - Baltimore
Syrian American Council - Maryland chapter
Tahirih Justice Center - Baltimore
United Church of Christ Central Atlantic Conference