Congressman Nadler Statement Opposing “Appalling” and “Irresponsible” H.R. 4038

Nov 19, 2015 Issues: Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs/Israel

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, delivered the following statement on the House floor in opposition to H.R. 4038, which effectively blocks Syrian refugees who have been displaced by violence and terror in their country from entering the United States. 

Below is the full text of the statement, as prepared, opposing H.R. 4038. For video of Rep. Nadler's statement from the House floor, Click Here:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 4038.  This irresponsible bill would effectively block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States for years.

“The shocking and tragic events in Paris have touched people all over the world and strengthened our resolve to defeat the terrorists who are responsible for these heinous acts, and for taking down a Russian airliner and carrying out deadly bombings in Beirut.

“But defeating terrorism should not mean slamming the door in the faces of those who are fleeing its deadly consequences.

“That is why I am appalled by the actions of this House and by some of the words of my colleagues today. 

“The United States has always been, and should always be, a place of refuge.  Remember, the Syrian refugees are running away from ISIS. They are running away from war and terror. They are its victims.  To stop thousands of desperate people who are fleeing unspeakable violence is unconscionable.  We might as well take down the Statue of Liberty.

“As a result of the war in Syria, there are millions of displaced people.  What is the world to do?  Countries with much smaller populations, like Lebanon and Turkey, have agreed to take a million refugees or more.  Even France just announced they’re increasing the number of Syrian refugees they’re accepting.  We, in the United States, are talking about a mere 10,000. 

“These refugees are subject to an extensive vetting process which can take up to 24 months.  But the real danger America faces is that ISIS, through its propaganda, can radicalize people already here and inspire them to attack the United States from within.  In Paris, we saw that several of the attackers were European nationals, who could enter the U.S. without being vetted.  So it is ridiculous to assert that by denying access to refugees we are making America safer.

“We face a choice that will echo through history. In 1924, a racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic Congress passed legislation slamming the door shut on Jewish and Italian and Greek and Eastern European immigrants.  The Almanac of American Politics said that if it weren’t for the 1924 Immigration Act, perhaps two million of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust would have been living safely in the United States instead.  Back then, we shut our doors to people in desperate need.  We must not do so again.

“We should not let ourselves be guided by fear.  We have a moral obligation to extend a hand to those in need.  This bill, instead, is a slap in the face.  I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and I yield back the balance of my time. Thank you.”