CASTRO CALLS FOR CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) today sent a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce (CA-39) calling for a congressional hearing on the Syrian refugee crisis. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have been displaced due to the violence and destruction of the four-year Syrian civil war. Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, the United States has accepted only 1,554 Syrian refugees.
"The unthinkably tragic refugee crisis unfolding in Europe has global ramifications and demands our urgent attention and action," said Rep. Castro. "At the very least, members of Congress should have the opportunity to hear from issue experts and the administration, and discuss publicly the prospect of the United States accepting an increased number of Syrian refugees. A Foreign Affairs Committee hearing would provide a venue for that timely, valuable conversation."
The United States has delivered more humanitarian aid to those affected by the Syrian conflict than any other nation, providing more than $4 billion in humanitarian assistance to support the nearly 8 million Syrians internally displaced, 12 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance, and 4 million Syrian refugees housed in neighboring countries.
"U.S. humanitarian aid is meaningful and much-needed, but it only goes so far," added Rep. Castro. "Our nation can make an even greater impact by increasing its commitment to resettling Syrians forced from their homes."
Rep. Castro is a member of the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees.
Text of the letter is included below.
[BEGIN LETTER TEXT]
Edward R. Royce
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Dear Chairman Royce:
The brutal four-year civil war in Syria has resulted in an international humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions. Though the United States has delivered more humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict than any other nation, other countries have stepped up to accept thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the terrible violence. I encourage you to convene a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing to afford members a venue for serious discussion on the appropriate role of the United States in resettling Syrian refugees.
The United States has provided more than $4 billion in humanitarian assistance to support the nearly 8 million Syrians internally displaced, 12 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance, and 4 million Syrian refugees housed in neighboring countries. However, despite our unmatched financial support, the number of Syrian refugees accepted into the United States for resettlement is extremely low.
The United States has only accepted 1,554 Syrian refugees since fighting in the nation began in 2011. As the administration decides how many Syrian refugees the United States will resettle in the future, it is important for Congress to have a public voice in the debate.
Resettling refugees from conflict is a reflection of our nation's values and leadership. Congress has a duty to discuss earnestly our nation's responsibility to share in the burden of sheltering innocent Syrians fleeing incredible violence and despair.
Member of Congress