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syrian-refugees-post1Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year decided that Syrian refugees would not be welcome in his state. And so he wrote a letter to President Obama to say that Texas would not take any refugees.

And many others have joined the no-refugee party, 29 others, to be precise. Check out that map from PBS above. And here’s the story to go with it. It’s a little frightening.

But NPR just ran a story last week about how medical students in Texas are stepping in to help those most in need.

I am so grateful to these people, these volunteers, for their generosity. I am grateful we do not live in a war-torn region and don’t share any borders with any war-torn regions. But my heart goes out to those who do. If I were from these areas, I would hope that someone would reach out to me and give me a space. I can’t even imagine the hell they must be living through.

I know that times are difficult. And I know that ISIL is preying on those fears to make us even more fearful, not the least of which is posting a Christmas hit list of potential targets in the wake of the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin.

But we cannot waste time with fear or fear-mongering. It is time to reach out with all the compassion we can muster. Most of the refugees coming are women and children. And there is a vetting process that is enhanced for those coming from Syria. It takes anywhere from 18 months to 2 years, sometimes longer, for people to go through the vetting process. It’s not easy. And to say “we don’t know who these people are” is really not truthful.

Whatever higher power you acknowledge, I’m sure he/she/it would not appreciate the cold shoulders our country is increasingly giving.

I am proud to be from a state where we are welcoming Syrians and other refugees with open arms. And I hope the Syrians who are scheduled to arrive in Rutland next month feel safe, maybe for the first time in years.



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