Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Call now: Refugees are NOT terrorists

We can stop Republicans from scapegoating refugees, if Democrats stand together for the principles enshrined on the Statue of Liberty.

Dear MoveOn member,

Anti-refugee attacks have become so fierce in Congress that Republicans are now threatening a government shutdown—seriously—to prevent any more Syrian families fleeing violence in the Middle East from entering America.1

Just days ago, the U.S. House passed a bill to slam the door on Syrian refugees—many of whom are fleeing the same terrorist network that attacked Paris—and passed it with enough votes to override President Obama's threatened veto.2 Our grassroots outcry helped stop the bill in the Senate so far, but the fight is far from over.

So now, according to rumors swirling in Washington today, Republicans' new strategy is to hijack the must-pass spending bill.3 Some of them are planning to hold the federal government hostage unless they get their way on blocking Syrian refugees and on other priorities of the farthest right-wing fringe of their base—maybe even defunding Planned Parenthood just days after the deadly attack in Colorado Springs.4

We can stop Republicans from scapegoating refugees in the U.S. Senate—if Democrats stand together for the principles enshrined on the Statue of Liberty. That's why all Democrats—those who stand with us and those who are undecided—need to hear from us right now so they know where we stand in this fight.

Can you call Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand now? Tell them: "Don't let Republicans use the spending bill to block Syrian families from finding safety in America. It's un-American to turn away people seeking refuge from war and oppression."

Here's where to call:
Senator Charles Schumer
Phone: (202) 224-6542

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Phone: (202) 224-4451

If this desperate Republican gambit sounds familiar, it's because Republicans have pulled from this playbook before. In fact, many right-wing members of their caucus were planning to use the spending bill to further grandstand against Planned Parenthood—and we may see the lies about Planned Parenthood trotted out again in the next week, alongside fear-mongering about refugee families.

We have learned to say no to Republican hostage taking—and we need Democrats to stand strong for core American values—including standing by the message on the Statue of Liberty and defending women's rights.

The anti-refugee backlash sweeping our country is a result of fear and bigotry shamelessly whipped up by politicians like Donald Trump. Trump outrageously claims that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in Jersey City celebrated the fall of the Twin Towers.5 Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson went so far as to compare Syrian refugees fleeing violence to "rabid dogs."6

And the inflammatory rhetoric targeting Planned Parenthood is just as absurd and dangerous. For months, Republicans have spread lies about Planned Parenthood—and last Friday's attack in Colorado Springs was a tragic reminder that violent language has very real consequences.

Democrats must stand together behind our most important American values and not succumb to Republican fearmongering—neither misplaced fear of families fleeing Syria nor fear of giving women power over their health and lives.

Can you pick up the phone right now, call Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand, and urge them to say no to Republican fearmongering?

Thanks for all you do.

–Ben W., Mark, Jadzia, Erica, and the rest of the team


1. "Analyst: 50-50 odds of government shutdown over refugees," McClatchy DC, December 1, 2015

2. "The moral and strategic case for admitting Syrian refugees," The Washington Post, November 23, 2015

3. "Congress returns to tackle omnibus," Politico, November 30, 2015

4. "No Shutdown Expected on Planned Parenthood," The New York Times, November 30, 2015

5. "Fact-checking Trump's claim that thousands in New Jersey cheered when World Trade Center tumbled," Politifact, November 22, 2015

6. "Republican Ben Carson compares Syrian refugees to 'rabid dogs'" Reuters, November 20, 2015

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