The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island today released the following statement:
"The ACLU of Rhode Island is deeply concerned by calls from legislators and others to close Rhode Island's doors to any Syrian refugees fleeing from violence and oppression. Rather than ceding to this parochialism, Governor Raimondo should instead be reaffirming the position she espoused just two months ago in response to this humanitarian crisis, when she stated that 'if Rhode Island is called upon … we’ll be ready to help.'
"For decades, Rhode Island has been a welcoming environment for immigrants and refugees from around the world, including Syria. We should take pride in this. Whether any particular person deserves to be given refugee status obviously needs to be made on a case-by-case basis, but no refugee should be denied consideration solely because of their ethnicity or national background.
"At various times and for various reasons, Rhode Island, like the rest of the country, has witnessed similar calls against the resettling of other ethnicities, including the Irish and the Italian. The stereotyping that took place then remains just as wrong today.
"The attacks in France were horrific, but to essentially blame these heinous acts on all the innocent residents of Syria who are themselves fleeing from violence does an injustice to what our country and our state stand for. We urge Governor Raimondo not to lend credence to this message of intolerance, and to instead affirm the need to welcome Syrian refugees who are fleeing the brutality of ISIS."