Sir Richard Branson is saddened by the growing chorus of US governors who say they won’t allow any Syrian refugees to be settled in their states following the news that one of the Paris attackers may have entered Europe via Greece.
“I understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens from violence and terror,” blogged Sir Richard. "But to impose collective punishment on tens of thousands in their moment of greatest despair, in false hope it might stop a determined few, may well be counterproductive. And it is profoundly inhumane.
“Much of this may be the kind of raucous political posturing you’d expect in an election season. But some of these governors, like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, are themselves children of refugees. He and others should know that welcoming the downtrodden, the disadvantaged, and the despondent with open arms has been one of the most enduring and positive chapters of the American narrative; and it has helped the country move from strength to strength – culturally, politically, and economically. People like Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan know what I mean. When I met him this June, we talked about the enormous positive contributions refugees have made time and again, and he was keen on welcoming more Syrian refugees to the Motor City. I hope Detroit’s doors will remain open, even as Michigan’s governor disagrees.
“Personally, I couldn’t think of a more powerful response to ISIS’ threats than to embrace those who have escaped their daily horrors with understanding, kindness and love. Syria may be today’s heart of darkness, but its wonderful people have the same dreams, goals and aspirations as most of us. As Ted Kennedy put it “what divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.” Let’s build on that. Openness and tolerance may prove the strongest force we have."
To read the full blog, click here.