09.21.15

Help Syrian refugees? Readers respond to our Question of the Week: Letters (Los Angeles Daily News)

There is no simple answer to address the Syrian refugee crisis. One thing that we can do to help thousands of families involves extending humanitarian parole to those Syrians who have family in the United States and already have approved family-based immigrant petitions as part of a larger effort.

Humanitarian parole allows individuals into the United States on a temporary basis due to a “compelling emergency.” And while it is a tool used sparingly, it has, in the past, saved the lives of tens of thousands fleeing war, religious persecution, poverty and other life-threatening situations — most recently after the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

In 2013, I led more than 70 bipartisan members of Congress to call on the Department of Homeland Security to implement such a program, which could now help as many as 20,000 Syrian men, women and children reach safe harbor and reunite with family members in the U.S. These people have already passed an initial review by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and all necessary background investigations would be undertaken to ensure that they do not pose a risk to the homeland, and if paroled, they would still be required to undergo additional checks.

The DHS still has not acted on the issue of humanitarian parole, and the number of refugees has more than quadrupled in the past two years. Time is of the essence in this effort to save the lives of displaced refugees as the Syrian civil war tragically continues with no end in sight.


By:  Adam Schiff
Source: Los Angeles Daily News