Jewish Orgs. Weigh In as House Votes to Tighten Screenings for Syrian and Iraqi Refugees

On Friday, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and amid a national debate over the admittance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the United States, the House of Representatives voted in favor of increased security checks on those seeking a safe haven in the United States. Speaker Paul Ryan said these ramped-up vetting measures are “about keeping American safe.” President Obama, who has vowed to veto the bill, said that such a process “would betray our deepest values.”

A number of Jewish organizations and institutions have weighed in on the matter, pledging support for the admission of these refugees. On Thursday, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Orthodox Union both issued statements, comparing the denial to grant Syrian refugees entry into the U.S. to the experience of Jews who fled the Nazis, exemplified by the fateful 1939 voyage of the SS St. Louis. This comparison has gained traction this week: An article published by The Washington Post, details, among other statistical sentiments, that “two-thirds of Americans polled by Gallup’s American Institute of Public Opinion in January 1939—well after the events of Kristallnacht—said they would not take in 10,000 German Jewish refugee children.”

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