Global Cleveland: "Closing Doors to Our Refugee Sisters and Brothers is Not Who We Are"

Global Cleveland, the nonprofit economic and social-focused group that serves immigrants and refugees in Northeast Ohio, decried Donald Trump's executive orders banning visitor travel from seven predominanly Muslim countries and suspending the U.S.'s refugee program.

The statement, including remarks from Global Cleveland president Joe Cimperman, in full:

Providing protection to people seeking safety is one of our nation’s proudest and longest standing traditions. Curtailing our refugee program threatens our shared prosperity that relies on the innovation and creativity of people who come from all places, faiths, and cultural traditions.

“The people who seek to enter our country as refugees are fleeing violence and threats to their lives,” said President of Global Cleveland, Joe Cimperman “It is our moral duty to help individuals in need and not to discriminate on the basis of nationality or religion. Halting our refugee program and denying protection to the most vulnerable goes against the fundamental core and strength of America. Refugees are our coworkers, neighbors, friends, business owners and community leaders and we are proud to be a community that is welcoming and inclusive of all people, including refugees.”

Cleveland is a city that has been greatly enriched by the contributions of our refugee and immigrant communities. International newcomers contribute to the economic and social vibrancy of our city as neighbors, doctors, community leaders, business owners, coworkers and friends. Two of these community leaders are George Koussa and Isam Zaiem, both originally from Syria, who now call Cleveland home. We agree with George “This is a nation of immigrants. We are stronger because of this” and with Isam Zaiem, that “Immigrants are the new blood that rejuvenates the business and economy of the city.”

According to the State Department, 78% of refugees resettled in the United States are women and their children. Refugees are here because they face a threat to their safety in their former homes. They are far more likely to have experienced the trauma of violence and unrest than the average American. Marzieh Ayati, an international PhD student from Iran, studying at Case Western Reserve University states “We should keep it in our mind that nobody likes to run away from home if home is a safer place.”

Any proposal or statements calling for a ban on refugees, as well as discrimination based on religion or nationality is un-American. As a nation founded in part by refugees and immigrants, these kind of discriminatory policies dishonor our history, beliefs and values.

Global Cleveland stands with all our refugee neighbors of all faiths, and we pledge to continue to fight discrimination in all its forms. #WeStandTogether

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