Peters Statement on Arrival Syrian Refugee Dr. Refaai Hamo & His Family to Michigan

Washington, DC – Below is a statement from U.S. Senator Gary Peters following the arrival of Syrian refugee Dr. Refaai Hamo and his family to Michigan. Dr. Hamo and his story were recently featured on Humans of New York.

“Like so many people across the world, I was heartbroken to learn of the profound loss and tragedy Dr. Refaai Hamo and his family have endured. But I was also deeply inspired by his determination – his passion to make a difference in the world. The Hamo family’s perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity embodies the spirit of our country and what it means to be American.

“I have always been proud of the welcoming spirit and rich diversity that makes Michigan so great. Our vibrant Arab-American and Muslim communities includes some of the most patriotic individuals I know, whose contributions to our state’s culture and economy are invaluable. The Muslim community is part of the fabric that weaves us all together, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of a community that embraces that diversity and makes Metro Detroit so unique - and so American.

“I know that in this time of great uncertainty, many people are concerned for our nation’s safety.  I understand that concern, and I share it.  While I am committed to taking steps to keep our country secure, I do not believe the answer is shutting our doors to refugees who are fleeing brutal violence and persecution and already undergo one of the most extensive screening processes of any people entering our country.

“I also stand with my friends in the Arab-American community against the divisive, hateful rhetoric we have heard over the last few weeks. Our country is stronger when we join together and work side-by-side as Americans to meet the challenges we face.

“The United States has always served as a beacon of hope for persecuted peoples around the world.  In times of difficulty and adversity, we cannot turn away from our shared values of freedom, opportunity and hope – they are the light that guides our path forward. Nothing gives me more pride than welcoming a new American to our shores and a new resident to our state.”