Under the Dome

Democratic legislators sign on to refugee-welcoming letter

Seven Democrats in the North Carolina legislature have signed on to a letter backing the Obama Administration’s position on accepting Syrian refugees.

The State Innovation Exchange, a national policy group connected to Democrats, released the letter. It was signed by 250 legislators in 38 states.

“It’s easy, and maybe even popular, to give into fears at a time like this, but we must check the facts and rely on our deepest held values to find a balanced approach to the threats facing our country and the world,” the letter says. “We thank the handful of governors who have stood against the fear-mongering and proclaimed their states open and ready to welcome refugee families in need.”

Reps. Carla Cunningham of Charlotte, Pricey Harrison of Greensboro, Verla Insko of Chapel Hill, Paul Luebke of Durham, Grier Martin of Raleigh, Susan Fisher of Asheville, and Sen. Terry Van Duyn of Asheville signed the letter.

It was released the day after leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called for blocking all Muslims from entering the country.

Gov. Pat McCrory has called for the federal government to stop sending refugees to the state. State Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democratic candidate for governor, generally agreed, calling for a “pause” in refugee entries to make sure the screening process is thorough.

Survey results released Tuesday from left-leaning Public Policy Polling show 35 percent of likely Republican primary voters in the state support shutting down mosques. Trump is the leading GOP candidate in the state, with 33 percent support of likely Republican primary voters, according to the poll. It was conducted after Trump’s Friday rally in Raleigh.

The State Innovation letter reads:

The attacks in Paris last month reminded us, once again, that we must remain incredibly vigilant in fighting terrorism around the world, as well as protecting our citizens here at home. As state legislators, protecting the residents of our communities is one of our most basic responsibilities and we take it very seriously.

At the same time, we must be careful not to let politics divide us during these difficult times or to exploit fear in a way that paints those who are desperately fleeing violence as potential enemies. We were troubled to see the response of so many governors in recent days, announcing intentions to close off many of our states to Syrian refugees, despite the fact that the US handpicks those who settle here and they go through a rigorous process with multiple levels of screening and security checks. In fact, many of these refugees are fleeing the same terror that unfolded in France, after years of facing violence at home.

It’s easy, and maybe even popular, to give into fears at a time like this, but we must check the facts and rely on our deepest held values to find a balanced approach to the threats facing our country and the world. We thank the handful of governors who have stood against the fear-mongering and proclaimed their states open and ready to welcome refugee families in need.

As we celebrate the holiday season, we are reminded of the values of freedom and generosity that are traced back to earliest days of our history. We are thankful for the democracy we live in that allows people from different backgrounds and religions to live here and become Americans.

We are committed to ensuring we keep our families safe and we also support the Administration’s decision to continue receiving refugees, regardless of religion or country of origin. We pledge to work within our legislatures in the coming months to find policy solutions that will ensure security in our states, while we also foster communities who warmly welcome those families who are seeking refuge in the United States.

  Comments