MPAC Submits Statement for Senate Syrian Refugee Crisis Hearing

January 6, 2014


On Tuesday, Jan. 7, MPAC submitted a statement for the record for “The Syrian Refugee Crisis” hearing being held by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

SEE: MPAC Statement for the Record for “Syrian Refugee Crisis” Hearing (mpac.org)

Click here to view the hearing online today at 2:30 p.m. EST / 11:30 a.m. PST.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Subcommittee, is holding the hearing on the refugee crisis at a pivotal time.The U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees reports that the Syrian refugee crisis is now worse than the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1994. Last month, the U.N. launched its biggest appeal for aid ever, calling for more than $7.3 billion to be dedicated to the crisis in Syria to avert what it says is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of modern times.

According to a statement released by Durbin’s office, “the hearing will focus on the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing the violent civil war in their home country. Approximately 2.3 million Syrian refugees have fled the country since the outbreak of the civil war, a number projected to reach 3.5 million by the end of the year. Of these refugees, three-quarters are women and children, including 1.1 million children.”

MPAC’s statement for the record reads, in part:

“While the U.S continues to be the biggest donor in humanitarian relief efforts in regards to the Syrian conflict, addressing the needs of Syrian refugees needs to be a priority for the U.S. and international community…. Congress must allocate and prioritize federal funding for increasing the number of Syrian refugees to the U.S.”

Since the start of the Syrian revolution, MPAC has worked closely with Syrian American community leaders, government officials and civil society partners to ensure the humanitarian and refugee crisis remains at the forefront of our nation’s foreign policy priorities. In the fall, MPAC also published, “On Intervention in Syria,” a response to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Al-Asaad which spelled out the need for U.S. intervention.

“We are thankful for Chairman Durbin and members of the Senate Subcommittee for exercising their leadership in highlighting this grave situation and including community voices for input on solutions,” said Hoda Elshishtawy, MPAC’s National Policy Analyst. “The crisis has escalated to a horrific level, and we urge lawmakers to support greater humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering.”

Action Alert:

Given the gravity of the growing number of Syrian refugees, it is imperative Congress legislates policy to deal with the situation. Call your Senator today and urge them to prioritize Syrian refugees as a legislative issue. If your Senator attended the hearing, thank them for exercising leadership and understanding of the worst refugee crisis the world has witnessed since 1994.

To find your two Senators, please click here.

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