America is better when we embrace President Reagan’s “shining city … teeming with people of all kinds, living in harmony and peace.”

America is better when we welcome those fleeing violence and persecution.

America is better when we support freedom, not fear.


In times like these, when our compassion is tested by those who would make us react in fear of those different from us, it is more important than ever to hold true to the powerful, enduring vision of our nation: one that welcomes people fleeing violence and persecution, and helps them build a life and achieve the American dream in our communities.

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President Ronald Reagan stood up for that vision. At the height of the Cold War, he believed freedom, not fear, would prevail.

As commander in chief, Reagan kept America safe. At the same time, he was the world’s “Great Liberator,” in the words of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He welcomed refugees from the Soviet Union, Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

Our security concerns are real, but a response based on fear alone is not worthy of our values. Today, President Reagan’s vision of America as a “shining city on a hill” is more important than ever. Now, more than ever, politicians and civic leaders need to be their better selves and remember that with freedom, not fear, America is Better.

From a faith perspective, we must not blame victims who are fleeing the evil from which we also seek to protect ourselves. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, not slam the door in his face.

Our security is paramount. But as security experts have pointed out, “Refugees are subjected to the highest and most intensive security review of any population coming to the U.S. No group goes through greater scrutiny and vetting than refugees. A litany of recurrent checks continue throughout the process, which takes 18 to 24 months to complete.  None of these security steps may be waived.”

Finally, economically, we know that refugees are not a burden, but instead represent a valuable, hardworking community of grateful residents who enrich our communities and help our businesses.

Send a Letter to Your Elected Representatives

Please send a letter to your U.S. senators and representative asking them to support refugee resettlement programs and services, ensuring refugees are screened, welcomed and integrated into our nation.

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