We Strongly Condemn Racist and Hateful Legislation Against Refugees; Call for Leadership by Governors

The Main Street Alliance strongly condemns the passage of H.R. 4038, the so-called “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act.” This bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday, November 19, prevents Syrian refugees from entering the United States without meeting additional stringent screening requirements.

Amanda Ballantyne, National Director for the Main Street Alliance, made the following statement:

“Despite the rhetoric, this bill is not about security. There is already a stringent and lengthy review process for refugees attempting to enter the United States. The bill is explicitly tailored to obstruct Syrian and Iraqi refugees’ entrance into the U.S. by adding unnecessary and impractical requirements. It follows a wave of shameful public statements by over 25 U.S. governors, who have promised to turn away or block refugees from entering their states.”

The Main Street Alliance, a network of small businesses, urges the Senate in the strongest possible to terms to oppose any similar legislation. It also calls upon Congress to refrain from adding any language to the 2016 omnibus spending bill that prevents funds from being used to relocate refugees from the region without stricter screening conditions.  

Reactions from Main Street Alliance Executive Committee Members:

“Our nation was founded and built by immigrants.  We can not yield to hatred and fear.  America can do better. We must live up to our promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we believe we need to amend the already lengthy refugee vetting process, we can do that. Just not in a way that delays or hinders our responsibility to act,” said Jim Houser, Co-Owner, Hawthorne Auto Clinic, Oregon. “We urge our governors to exhibit leadership and to be willing partners in the welcoming of Syrian refugees into our states.”

“We’re appalled that the House voted against allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the US,”  said David Borris, Owner, Hell’s Kitchen Catering, Illinois. “As the Senate considers this bill, we hope they remember our nation’s history. Generations of new American business owners and workers have helped build strong local economies and strong communities. This bill is driven by fear and hate, not a need for security.”

“As if our outdated and ineffectual immigration policy wasn't bad enough, we now have reckless political leaders hitting the panic button,” said Kelly Conklin, Owner, Foley Waites & Associates, New Jersey. “In the face of terrorism we need our leaders to be deliberate, thoughtful and resolute. We should not refuse entry to this recent wave of people fleeing violence and oppression. They will become the future of our economy and the most ardent defenders of our freedoms. 

“As a small business owner, I see the positive impact immigrants have on our economy,” said ReShonda Young, Owner, Popcorn Heaven, Iowa. “Many of my neighbors, community members, and  customers are immigrants who have also opened businesses and seek my guidance in doing so. At a time like this, we need to open our arms to refugees so they can find some sense of safety, and our communities can flourish.”