B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin said: “While we acknowledge the very real threat posed by terrorists who aim to exploit our nation’s humanitarian instincts, a more nuanced and balanced approach to helping those seeking a safe harbor is clearly preferable, and more in keeping with America's values, than the sweeping ban being imposed by the administration. Our country has a great, though sometimes imperfect, tradition of welcoming those fleeing oppression, persecution and unending civil wars.”
The enhanced vetting of refugees Trump is calling for is already well underway, as individuals fleeing Syria are currently subjected to a screening process lasting 18 months or more.
Our country’s law enforcement and immigration authorities have done a commendable job in seeking to prevent would-be terrorists from entering the country. Further, we need to work with our allies in the Middle East and Europe to ensure that those who seek to use the refugee and asylum process with the intention to do harm to our citizens cannot enter the country.
We call for immediate relief for visa and green card holders who already have been thoroughly vetted, some of whom are now at American airports and others who are in transit to the United States. We are also concerned that those who have green cards, or something less than full citizenship, would have trouble returning to the country if they seek to leave to visit family abroad.
B'nai B'rith urges the president to rescind this executive order. A nation of immigrants should be more than sympathetic to leaving the door open for others seeking peace, hope and a better life.