Criticism of Effort to Bar Syrian Refugees

The U.S. attorney for Kansas has issued a statement criticizing efforts to bar Syrian refugees from entering the country, and discouraging discriminatory acts against Muslims in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Tuesday that decisions regarding the resettlement of refugees are part of the federal government’s authority over immigration.

Several governors, including Gov. Sam Brownback, have spoken out against letting Syrian refugees into the United States, citing that terrorists could enter the country under the guise of being a refugee.

In his statement, Grissom says fear of terrorism is no reason for backlash against Muslims in America. He also says the Department of Justice will act to enforce hate crime laws.

 Barry Grissom Complete Statement:

The Paris attacks, and then San Bernardino, have raised people’s anxieties and concerns about terrorism. But as Americans we must not let fear drive us to hateful and divisive acts toward Muslims in this country.

As U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, keeping the American people safe is my top priority. At the same time, I urge Kansans not to turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That is what the terrorists want and it is the only way they can succeed — by manipulating us into betraying our own values.

Just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideals that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans of every faith to reject discrimination. At the Department of Justice, we always have a concern when we see rhetoric cross the line and become threats or violence. So we are monitoring any potential backlash and will respond where we see action that violates our country’s protections against hate crimes.

Let me also make this clear: Decisions as to the resettlement of refugees within the United States are part of the federal government’s constitutional and statutory authority over immigration. Various federal laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin, and the Department of Justice takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure that those laws are enforced in appropriate circumstances.