WASHINGTON—Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, released the following statement in response to the attacks in Paris and Beirut last week:
“All of us at HIAS extend our deepest condolences for the people of Paris and Beirut, for the families who lost loved ones. We pray for the recovery of the wounded. Words alone cannot express our sadness over these events.
“HIAS condemns these monstrous acts of terror and the mass murderers who committed them. May they be brought to justice.
“We at HIAS are also saddened to see politicians citing these tragic events as a reason to put safe haven further out of reach for refugees. The world needs to stay focused on fighting terrorism and hatred, not on building walls of brick as well as paper to keep refugees out.
“Refugees resettled to the United States are already subject to multiple layers of security screenings. Of course, the United States must continue to rigorously screen refugees to ensure that terrorists are not disguising themselves as refugees to gain access to resettlement. But as a rule, refugees do not bring terror, they flee terror. And at this tragic time in human history, where there are more refugees and displaced persons than at any time since the Second World War, we must take care to protect refugees and asylum seekers, not scapegoat them.”
Hetfield is scheduled to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, on Thursday, November 19.