Refugee Abu Khalil and his family with college Park city council members and supporters (courtesy of Hena Zuberi)

At last night’s Council meeting, the City Council passed a resolution welcoming refugees from Syria and around then world to College Park.

The resolution passed unanimously. College Park resident Jackie Pierce Garrett started a petition a few weeks ago asking College Park City Council to welcome refugees to College Park.

Here is the full text of the resolution that the Council adopted.

WHEREAS, the City College Park has a long history of welcoming immigrants and building an open, caring, and inclusive community that celebrates its diversity, welcomes the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and embraces humanitarian efforts; and

WHEREAS, the City of College Park is comprised of residents, and the descendants of families, from all parts of the world who speak many languages and represent various cultures; and

WHEREAS, the conflict in Syria has presented one of the worst refugee crises since World War II, with more than seven million Syrians displaced by war; and

WHEREAS, many of the refugees referred to the United States for resettlement are the most vulnerable, including survivors of torture, women heads of household, children, and people with special medical needs; and

WHEREAS, President Barack Obama has committed to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year; and

WHEREAS, those wishing to come to the United States apply through the United Nations and are subject to an extremely rigorous and multi-layered security screening program by a number of U.S. law enforcement and security agencies; and

WHEREAS, the intensive background checks required of refugees to the United States can take as long as 24 months to complete; and

WHEREAS, since 9/11, more than 750,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States and not one has been convicted of plotting a terrorist attack in the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, we share the view of many national security experts that failing to help refugees resettle quickly is a factor that can increase risks for Americans around the world; and

WHEREAS, opening our doors to those who are fleeing violence does not endanger our safety; but rather shows our hope and compassion; and

WHEREAS, Syrian refugees should to be treated with the dignity, care, respect, and compassion that every person deserves; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of College Park, Maryland hereby affirms its duty and willingness to serve as a place of sanctuary and refuge for refugees from around the world and to welcome Syrians who are approved as refugees, as respected and valued members of our community.

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of College Park will work with city departments, other levels of government, local businesses, non-governmental organizations, and residents to identify ways in which the community can provide support for refugees relocating to the College Park area.