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Readers write: nothing wrong with a 'pause'; America's invitation to the 'huddled masses'

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 14, 2015 weekly magazine.

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    Zuyu Nu, center, from China and serving with the US Navy, takes the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at the Statue of Liberty, Friday, in New York. The oath of citizenship was taken by 125 people, to mark the Statues's 125th anniversary. On the left is Adeniyi Ismail Rufai from Nigeria and serving with the Navy, and on the right is Patrick Kudzo Azameti from Ghana and serving the US Army.
    Mark Lennihan/AP
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Nothing wrong with a ‘pause’
Regarding the Nov. 30 article “Why the Syrian refugee issue turned partisan so quickly”: The rhetoric on both sides of the debate over accepting Syrian refugees into the United States has gotten out of hand. Americans are a generous and welcoming people, and we absolutely should be. But this is also a time to be cautious. The prospect that terrorist groups could successfully pose as refugees, as some did in France, to infiltrate our country seems like a legitimate security threat.

Yes, there are some people and political elements that are genuinely xenophobic, who are using security concerns as an excuse to justify hate. But those quick to hurl such accusations against anyone calling for caution are only being divisive. President Obama, in particular, could have helped avoid some of the partisanship by acknowledging the legitimate concerns that people have.  
Josh Carlon
Knoxville, Tenn.

Remember America’s invitation
Regarding the Nov. 19 online article “House defies Obama on Syrian refugees, as larger threat emerges” (CSMonitor.com): I am an American Ahmadi Muslim. Born in Pakistan, I immigrated to America in 1998 and was granted asylum based on religious persecution.
When I read that many US governors have refused to settle Syrian refugees in their respective states and the majority of politicians have voted in favor of the House bill to suspend the program accepting Syrian and Iraqi refugees, I felt very sad. I understand that keeping our citizens safe from any potential terrorist threat is of utmost importance, but it can be assured by making the refugee vetting process even more rigorous.

All those who have based their decision to deny embracing Syrian refugees on the recent Paris terrorist attacks must not forget the greatest gift that the French people gave us – the Statue of Liberty. The inscription on it states, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” As Americans, these are the values we stand for. Let us show compassion to suffering humanity and not allow fear of Islamic State to steer us away from our true American values.
Nasir Ahmad
Tinton Falls, N.J.

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