Statement to Congress -- Policy Recommendations and New Harvard Report

Please see MFA's statement sent to U.S. elected officials:

Honorable Members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives:

The Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA), a coalition of nearly ninety faith-based and secular organizations committed to enhancing and improving United States refugee admission and resettlement, urges this Congress to:

  • Support a Presidential determination of at least 75,000 refugees in FY ‘18

  • Appropriate sufficient FY ’18 funding for the Departments of Homeland Security and State and enhanced funding for the Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Refugee Resettlement

  • Adopt recommendations of Harvard Law School’s “Fulfilling U.S. Commitment to Refugee Resettlement,” a comprehensive Report issued yesterday.

Since its inception in 2013, MFA, with its partner JDC, has raised more than $2 million for organizations providing direct humanitarian assistance to more than 85,000 Syrian refugees. It has also inaugurated transformative Track 1.5 diplomatic efforts and, quite recently, coordinated the delivery of more than $21 million of medical supplies (including two ambulances), clothing, food, infant formula, blankets, sanitary and other critical supplies to previously-inaccessible Syrian border villages. Simultaneously, MFA conducts crisis-related briefings seeking to dispel myth-based fears; facilitates relationships between complementary partner organizations working to help Syrian war victims; and suggests practical and humane improvements to United States law and policy.

MFA served as consultant to the development of the Harvard Report, made possible by a grant from the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation and catalyzed by the catastrophic Syrian refugee crisis. The Report contains extensive recommendations premised upon the United States’ historical role in protecting vulnerable refugees while safeguarding foreign policy interests, advancing American job creation, and complying with humanitarian and legal obligations. MFA Founder Georgette F. Bennett’s powerful New York Times Op-Ed, “We Should Keep Our Word on Refugees,” June 15, 2017, reinforces Harvard’s analysis and urges that by any measure – law, economics, security – enhancing and improving our refugee admission and resettlement practices are in our national interest. On top, “This is a country that prides itself in the depth and diversity of its religious faith….[To do otherwise] violates the fundamental precepts of the great religions: to provide sanctuary and to care for the stranger.”

MFA calls on this Congress to embrace these recommendations to ensure – in the best tradition of our country – that our refugee policy is a standard-bearer for the world.

Yours sincerely,

Sana F. Shtasel

Senior Advisor


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