SHORELINE, Wash. -- In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, some lawmakers have publicly opposed taking in Syrian refugees. Gov. Jay Inslee did the opposite Monday and said Washington would continue to support refugees.
At World Concern headquarters, a global relief organization, leaders are now concerned how the Paris attacks will affect its efforts to help refugees and the stigma the tragedy has put on a nation of people who they say need legitimate help.
While some are still struggling to come to grips with the devastating images shown on TV screens around the world, World Concern President Jacinta Tegman knows it isn't just heartbreak people are feeling but fear.
“Obviously, there are greater implications for security, a lot of fear in the world right now, and our goal right now is to meet the need (of refugees) wherever possible,” said Tegman.
It’s a fear even prompting some governors across the country to take a stand against allowing Syrian refugees in their states amid reports that at least one of the terrorists in Paris had entered France with a group of Syrian refugees.
“When we see the dangers that were caused by Syrian refugees in Paris, it is imperative that Texas do everything we can to ensure we don't have a Syrian refugee sneak into the state of Texas who can pose in similar terroristic danger,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
However, as an organization that works closely with the Syrian people, World Concern says the needs of the war-torn country are real and the families fleeing the country shouldn’t be grouped in with terrorists.
“My heart is broken because I know in the midst of all the security implications, there are real people, real children, real moms and dads that are suffering as well,” said Tegman.
They are sentiments Washington Rescue Committee for Syrian Refugee Founder Hussein Ali is feeling, too.
“It's really sad to kind of generalize, and accuse an entire population of that,” said Ali.
Inslee said he stands firmly with President Barack Obama on the need to take in Syrian refugees.
“Sadly, in the wake of these attacks, many people channel their fear and anger against ISIS into fear and anger against Muslims. At a time when millions of Syrian families are attempting to flee ISIS and seek refuge in safer parts of the world, including the United States, there are some who say it’s time to close our doors to people whose lives are in peril.
“I stand firmly with President Obama who said this morning, ‘We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.’
“Washington will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice. ...
"It’s important to note that governors do not decide whether refugees come to their states. Those decisions are made by the federal government, and the U.S. State Department has a robust system in place to evaluate and place families who seek refugee status.That makes these anti-refugee comments by governors even more troublesome and of little value except to divide people and foment intolerance.”
It’s a move Ali applauds and hopes others will follow suit.
“The Syrian population is very educated, so when they are running away from war, it's really important for us to help them resettle where they are,” said Ali.
Ali's organization is hoping to put together more education about Syrian refugees. For more information: