To Welcome and Integrate Refugees, Protect Their Liberties

Communications Associate

April 12, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “The United States and other developed nations have a chance to act smarter, think bigger and move faster in addressing this crisis and preventing the next one,” Bono writes in a New York Times op-ed today.

He calls on countries to see refugees as a benefit, not a burden. Bono, as famous for his humanitarian efforts as for his music, also highlights the need for a more welcoming response here in the U.S.

“If politicians want Muslims to embrace the United States, they would be wise to protect America’s liberties,” writes David Bier, Director of Immigration Policy at the libertarian Niskanen Center. “… Syrian refugees around the United States are also condemning terrorism. It’s the violence that made them flee, and the reason that they flee to America is liberty.

“Instead of undermining that reputation with calls to deport Muslim refugees, restrict Muslim immigration, or profile their neighborhoods, we’d be better off defending their liberty.”

After fleeing violence and persecution, refugees want to be here. And they’re hardworking contributors to our communities once they arrive.

Among the business leaders who have called repeatedly for Americans to see the opportunities refugees offer: Turkish-born Chobani yogurt CEO Hamdi Ulukaya.

“Imagine if someone who left from the place where they were comfortable — they’ve gone through so much emotions, physically and psychologically. And they survived. They made it to a new place,” he said. “When you are in this mindset, when you went through this whole thing, you are the most productive person you will be. Nothing will scare you anymore. So let’s look at the refugees in a way — not something that burdens the society, but it’s an opportunity for the society.”

“Whether they’re coming from Syria or Central America, refugees who come to the U.S. are fleeing the very violence and persecution we’re fighting abroad,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. ​“Once here, they become active contributors to our local communities who look to embrace our country’s values. We need to encourage that integration, not deter it.

“As a country, we need to make sure we’re sufficiently funding programs that help refugees transition to the U.S. and integrate fully. America is better because we are a nation of immigrants and refugees, grounded in our values of freedom and opportunity for all.”