During this holiday season, more than 5,000 people who have already passed the difficult test to prove they are refugees and are living peacefully in the United States — and untold numbers of refugees who remain in dangerous situations abroad — are wrongly being categorized by the U.S. government as “terrorists.”
A pro-democracy Burmese student who protested against the Burmese government and was persecuted as a result, a young Sudanese man who was forcibly abducted and detained by a Sudanese rebel group, and a Burundian man who gave “material support” to a rebel group when armed rebels robbed him of four dollars and his lunch, are all wrongly labeled as terrorists by the U.S. government.
Because of the failure of U.S. agencies to adopt the procedures that Congress passed in bipartisan legislation — spearheaded by Senators Kyl and Leahy — to fix this problem in 2007, thousands of cases are being placed on hold, leaving many to languish in limbo and be indefinitely separated from their families.
Elisa Massimino of Human Rights First, Kevin Appleby of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Galen Carey of the National Association of Evangelicals, Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Michael Horowitz of Hudson Institute, and Melanie Nezer of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, called on the Obama administration to end the bureaucratic delays and the needless human tragedy suffered by law-abiding persons and their families already victimized by persecution.
Read the letter to President Obama here.