Wednesday, November 18, 2015

To: Gov. Hutchinson. From: Eyewitness. Subject: Syrian refguees

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 2:48 PM

  • Arkansas Catholic
Arkansas Catholic has published a letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson from an Arkansan, Joslyn Hebda, who's represented Arkansas in the Middle East by working in Jordan in 2013 to process Syrian refugees. She currently lives in Memphis (a previous version of this post said incorrectly she was currently working in Jordan). She urges Hutchinson to reconsider the unwelcome mat he's thrown out to refugees.

Governor, you cannot turn away Syrian refugees in good conscience. In your statement released earlier today you admitted that these people have endured horrors few of us could ever imagine. So why are we rejecting these people who need our help and have nowhere else to go? Surrounding Middle Eastern states are bloated past capacity. European countries are filling up as well. The United States, in particular Arkansas, is one of the few places in the world left with the resources and facilities to house our poorest brothers and sisters. We are blessed to live in a state with a low cost of living and richly diverse population. This is your chance to showcase the generosity of hospitality of Arkansans. The United States is accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees over the coming years (and even that is a paltry number compared to the overall crisis of 9 million Syrian refugees) and we cannot simply opt out of our responsibility. These people will be subjected to multiple high-level security checks, biometrics, medical screenings and cultural orientations. They are everyday people who had the misfortune to be born in a land of conflict.

I would appreciate you redacting your depthless statement. If for whatever reason you honestly believe in your heart that the vetted Syrian men, women and children fleeing a war-zone are unworthy of basic dignity, then please reply explaining how and why their race, creed, or simple misfortune make these people less than human. Yet if you truly do believe that we must "live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God," as you tweeted on Nov. 13, then you must not shun our most innocent. 

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