Refugee advocate: Every town in NJ should take in 10 families
In the wake of the bloody ISIS terror attack in Paris at the end of last week, some U.S. lawmakers are calling for a halt to the influx of Syrian refugees into this country because of security concerns.
But the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, the pastor of the Reformed Church of Highland Park and the head of the Central Jersey Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Highland Park and New Brunswick wants more refugees to be allowed to resettle in the Garden State.
He says as the increasing horrors in Syria due to the ongoing civil war have become known, efforts have increased to help the refugee victims, and “we feel it’s way time the U.S. steps up in a more serious way.”
Kaper-Dale insists we need to become the kind of community that welcomes families in.
“We’ve started what we’re calling the Take 10 Campaign. We’re encouraging every municipality in New Jersey to prepare themselves to receive 10 refugee families.”
He also says concerns about security are misguided.
“The Office of Refugee Resettlement has an incredibly elaborate process to bring people here,” he said. “Anybody coming here has been screened by Homeland Security and the process takes about three years, and in addition, they’ve been screened by three or four other agencies to get approved to come here."
The reverend says most refugees are in refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon, and some are placed in Iraq and Jordan. The United Nations is overseeing these camps to a great degree.
“Our situation in this country is very different from Europe,” he said. “People getting here now have been in camps since 2011, they haven’t just come out at this moment. Security should not be the thing that keeps us from being loving, our security is very, very strong.”
He also said that every year, the United States takes in 70,000 to 75,000 refugees.
“It’s part of the way we do business as a humanitarian nation, we’re simply pushing to increase the number of Syrian refugees,” he says.
Recent U.S. government data shows 75 Syrian refugees have settled in New Jersey since the beginning of the year, many in Jersey City.
“We’re hoping for a big increase in the number of Syrians coming, but when I say a big increase, it’s still miniscule little numbers of well secure families,” Kaper-Dale said. “We just want to be a little more helpful in the midst of this global crisis. These are not the people who are running through France with AK47’s, these are the victims of the types of people who might run through France with AK47’s, they are not the same people.”