JFS, others call for U.S. to admit Syrian refugees

Jewish Family Service San DiegoSAN DIEGO (SDONA)– Local Jewish organizations are joining a national effort to ask President Obama to allow 100,000 more Syrian refugees to settle in the United States.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego and the Leichtag Foundation in Encinitas are joining HIAS, the oldest international migration and refugee resettlement agency in the U.S., to petition the government. As over 11 million Syrians flee violence and persecution, the organizations are urging President Obama and the U.S. government to take the lead in addressing the humanitarian crisis.

JFS provides financial, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual health services to people of all religions in need. The Leichtag Foundation supports Jewish life and community in coastal North San Diego County. HIAS supports all refugees, regardless of faith and ethnicity.

“The medieval commentator, Rashi, asked, ‘Why was Abraham sitting at the door of his tent?’” said Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service, in a statement. “His answer was that Abraham did so in order to see if any strangers were approaching so that he could welcome them as soon as possible.”

The petition includes a letter addressed to President Obama, criticizing the U.S government for only planning to resettle a fraction of the 200,000 people that were resettled for the Indochinese boat refugee crisis in 1980.

Last week, the President agreed to increase the resettlement number of Syrian Refugees to 10,000, according to the New York Times. This is only a tenth of the amount that these organizations believe is possible.

The petition argues that the number of countries willing to accept  Syrian refugees in Europe is inadequate to support the 11 million displaced people, and pressures the U.S. government to make the Syrian refugee crisis a top foreign policy priority.

“As an organization rooted in Jewish values and tradition, we are ever mindful that, like the Syrian refugees and the millions of other refugees around the world, we were strangers, too,” said Hopkins.

Apart from accepting more refugees, the petition also requests that the government supports the refugees with food, shelter, medical care and education, so they are not compelled to flee again.

The New York Times said that the number of refugees accepted from other countries decreased dramatically after 9/11, but has gradually risen since then.

The petition to accept more Syrian refugees is available here.

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Preceding re-published from The Times of San Diego, which along with San Diego Jewish World is a member of the San Diego Online News Association (SDONA)

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2 Responses to “JFS, others call for U.S. to admit Syrian refugees”

  1. Eric Tauber says:

    That would be a really bad idea. Normally, I would be more sympathetic to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. But, in this case, there is strong evidence that Syria is exporting not just refugees, but an army of Islamic extremists. Europe is being flooded with able-bodied young men who are wreaking havoc. Let’s not ask for that trouble here.
    If anything, we should be exhorting the gulf states -which already import many foreign laborers- to take them in. Wouldn’t it make more sense to settle them in societies that already share their language, culture and values? Yet the gulf states have not taken in a single one. But King Salman has offered to pay for the construction of mosques in Europe. This raises some serious questions…
    –Eric Tauber, San Diego

  2. Leopoldo Kahn says:

    Has a Jewish institution forgotten that the Jews have been expeled from Siria… and nobody except Israel took care of them?
    Why has Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates taken zero refugees… they first should help their brothers.

    –Leopoldo Kahn, San Diego

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