Citing her own story of fleeing Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia as a young child, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said she’s “deeply disturbed” by the calls – made almost entirely by Republicans—to ban Syrian refugees into the U.S. in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
“These proposals are motivated by fear, not by the facts, and they fly in the face of our country’s proud tradition of admitting refugees from every corner of the globe and every faith background,” Albright wrote in an op-ed for Time on Tuesday.
Albright said the issue is personal, especially as she celebrates her 67th anniversary of arriving to the United States after fleeing her native Czechoslovakia during World War Two. Albright, who served under the Clinton Administration, wrote that the Syrians are going through a similar situation.
“Their country is being destroyed by despotic leaders and terrorists…They do not want to leave their country, but they have no choice,” she said.
Citing security concerns, more than half of the country’s governors said this week that they either oppose accepting Syrian refugees or will not allow any more—either temporarily or permanently – into their states, even as the Obama administration says it will continue to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year. It’s also unlikely that governors can unilaterally make such decisions on their own.
Republican presidential candidates are also trying to curb the flow of Syrian refugees.
Syria is believed to be one of the home bases of the terrorist group known as ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks, which killed more than 120 people and injured at least 350.
Critics of the call to prohibit Syrian refugees into the U.S. call it fear-mongering at its worst and note the flood of refugees who have been fleeing to Europe and other regions are by and large doing so to escape civil war and ISIS-related violence.
President Obama on Tuesday night mocked Republicans who are trying to close the borders on Syrian refugees. He also took a veiled shot at White House hopeful, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who recently said the U.S. should not even allow young Syrian orphans into the country.
“These are the same folks often times that say they’re so tough that just talking to [Russian President Vladimir] Putting or staring down ISIL [ISIS] or using some additional rhetoric will solve the problem—and they’re scared of widows and 3-year-old orphans,” said Obama.