LANSING, Mich. — State Senator David Knezek (D–Dearborn Heights) today released the following statement on the issue of Syrian refugees in Michigan:

“The recent attacks in France, Lebanon, and other places around the world have understandably increased our fears regarding the acceptance of refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria. In the wake of these devastating attacks, the United States must demonstrate strength and leadership at home and abroad in the face of such terrorism.

“That leadership includes not allowing fear and divisiveness to motivate our decision-making as it relates to the Syrian refugee crisis. The United States relies on the most stringent refugee acceptance processes in the world — procedures that more than 250,000 refugees have gone through since 9/11. This 18 to 24-month process is complete with health screenings, background checks, and multiple face-to-face interviews conducted by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. We must continue to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to ensure that they can fulfill our foremost responsibility: keeping Americans safe.

“In the end we cannot lose sight of the fact that we are a nation of immigrants, that our willingness to accept the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is part of the fabric that makes this country great. When we lose sight of these values — when we cower to extremists — we are giving away our greatest strength as a nation. Those seeking refuge in the United States are fleeing the very terrorists and twisted ideology that we all stand united against. By ignoring those in need, we are subscribing to the idea that an orphaned child’s only choice is between an Assad chlorine bomb or rape and murder at the hands of ISIS. That is decidedly un-American. We can and must remain a beacon of hope for those who have suffered in the most hopeless conditions while continuing to keep our country safe.”