The U.S. Holocaust Museum in a statement on Thursday voiced concern over the House vote to pause the Obama administration’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian saying citizens and lawmakers should not “turn our backs” on thousands of legitimate refugees.
“Acutely aware of the consequences to Jews who were unable to flee Nazism, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum looks with concern upon the recent refugee crisis,” the museum statement said. “While recognizing that security concerns must be fully addressed, we should not turn our backs on the thousands of legitimate refugees.”
The Museum called on lawmakers and American citizens to “avoid condemning today’s refugees as a group,” adding “It is important to remember that many are fleeing because they have been targeted by the Assad regime and ISIS for persecution and in some cases elimination on the basis of their identity.”
Last week the Holocaust Museum released a report confirming that the Islamic State terrorist group had committed genocide against Yazidi Christians in Syria and carried out crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes against other minorities in the northern part of the country.
On Thursday the House voted 289-137, with 47 Democrats joining Republicans to pause President Obama’s plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. over the next year, citing security concerns in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris.
Shortly after the vote the Church World Service, a humanitarian organization comprised of 37 Christian denominations, condemned the decision saying the legislation “fans the flames of bigotry and fear.”
“Today, members of the House of Representatives betrayed our nation’s heritage as a country that has welcomed the oppressed,” Rev. John L. McCullough, president and CEO of CWS said. “We have a proud history of standing with the vulnerable and protecting the persecuted. This legislation fans the flames of bigotry and fear. Our faith calls us to welcome our refugee brothers and sisters, not the create barriers that prevent them from seeking safety.”
Nearly 2,000 Syrian refugees have already been resettled over the last two years despite those gaps. Of those, about half are children and another quarter are elderly. Men of “combat” age account for only about 2 percent of Syrians admitted, officials said this week.