Washington Governor Jay Inslee today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State asking the Trump Administration to reverse severely restrictive new refugee policies in light of the historically high number of people fleeing violence in countries such as Syria. Only 11 Syrians have been admitted into the United States since January.
President Trump on Friday ordered air strikes against Syria after Syrian government leaders launched a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed at least 70 people and injured hundreds more. It was the second chemical attack in Syria in a year. The president called the chemical weapons attacks “atrocious” and said, “This is about humanity.”
“While this Administration decries these atrocious attacks against humanity, it still unconscionably condemns Syrians to suffer these atrocities,” Inslee wrote. “People around the world are struggling at this moment to survive in countries where violence, persecution, war and pervasive poverty are depriving them or their children any chance of a healthy or secure future. It is time for us to renew our American commitment to supporting those in need during a time of crisis.”
“We could be providing a lifeline, but instead we are turning our back,” Inslee continued. “I urge you to swiftly review and reverse the current policies that are restricting the ability of qualified refugees to be admitted into the United States. This is, after all, about humanity.”
Inslee’s letter notes the president attempted to implement an outright ban on Syrian refugees, and has implemented policies resulting in a record low number of refugees being admitted to the U.S. The United Nations estimates 65 million people around the world have been forced to leave their home due to violence and persecution since 2016. 5.5 million of them are from Syria. The U.S. is currently on track to admit approximately 21,000 refugees in the current fiscal year.