Members of the community will gather on the Concord State House plaza at noon on Saturday, December 5th, to rally in support of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The rally is sponsored by American Friends Service Committee, New American Africans, NH Peace Action, and the UNH Muslim Student Association. Members of the immigrant community will speak at the event.

"Under current law, refugees are already required to pass a rigorous set of background checks by multiple federal agencies before being finally approved—a process that is more robust than the screenings for any other applicant for entry to the US," explained Honore Murenzi of New American Afrians, "This bill would require that, in addition to the existing screening processes, the heads of the FBI and DHS and the Director of National Intelligence all unanimously concur that each refugee has cleared an additional background investigation. It would also require that DHS submit multiple reports to a long list of congressional committees, including for each applicant who was denied admission to the US."

Despite no evidence that refugees from Syria were involved with the attacks in Paris, many US leaders responded by calling for a closure of their states to refugees from the Syrian civil war. 

On Thursday, November 19, the US House passed HR 4038, a bill that would place additional obstacles on the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.  "While supporters may assert that this bill is merely an additional background check, HR 4038 would effectively halt the US resettlement process," says Mehdi El Azouzi, "At a time when 4 million Syrians have fled from their home country and 12 million more are internally displaced due to armed conflict, this is a cruel and unnecessary response."  The issue is now slated to come before the US Senate.

Will Hopkins of NH Peace Action said, "Punishing Syrian and Iraqi refugees for the violence of a few will not make the US any safer.  To the contrary, turning our backs on refugees betrays our nation's core values. We do not make judgments about people based on the country they come from and their religion."

"Refugee resettlement has been a successful and longstanding process in the US. For decades, local faith and community-based groups have successfully partnered with officials to welcome, support and sponsor refugees. We are called to welcome refugees who are fleeing violence and insecurity in their home country," says Arnie Alpert of American Friends Service Committee.

Hopkins continued, "It's important to all of us that our Senators vote against HR 4038 or any rider or amendment that would block the resettlement of Syrian or Iraqi refugees in the US."