We can’t let our fear dim the beacon of hope we project to the world

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The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, blocked Wednesday by the Senate, would have required screening of all potential incoming refugees from Syria and Iraq by the Department of Homeland Security, the national intelligence director, and the FBI.

As the world faces the largest number of displaced people since World War II, would Iraq and Syria have been the first of forbidden nations? We cannot let fear affect our own humanity by closing our doors to people in great need who would prefer nothing else than to stay at home if it were safe to do so.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the processing of refugees abroad has become more robust in an effort to screen out individuals who could place the country in danger. Our willingness as a nation to take in people from other countries makes us a beacon of hope around the world, and one to be emulated. Yet we must also remember that it is their contribution after they have arrived that has made our country great.


To divvy opportunity along ideological, sociopolitical, or religious lines is divisive. Our best defense is to create a civil society in which all people feel invested in the betterment not only of their own lives but of the communities in which they live.

Dr. Lin Piwowarczyk

Boston Center for Refugee

Health and Human Rights