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Open letter from DFL leaders to Syrian refugees: We're 'happy to have you'


With fears of terrorist attacks rising following the tragedy in Paris, dozens of U.S. governors are vowing to turn Syrian refugees away. But a coalition of Minnesota's public servants is sending the immigrants a much different message.

25 Democratic state representatives and senators and other leaders have lent their signatures to an open letter to Syrian refugee families, assuring them that "we are happy to have you."

"As elected officials and political leaders in Minnesota, we wish to welcome you to our state," the letter reads.

“You may hear voices in the media and from politicians calling for us to close ourselves off and look ever inward as a state and nation. These voices do not represent the majority," it continues, noting Minnesota's "history of extending safe haven to people in need from around the world."

Those people, the leaders say, include Hmong, Somalis, Ethiopians and others. These "new Minnesotans," they write, have helped make the state "a better place to live."

Additionally, some of them "have even come to like our cold winters."

The letter was authored by Senate President Sandy Pappas, FOX 9 says.

The Obama Administration has pledged to take in 10,000 refugees displaced by Syria's long and bloody civil war. But the revelation that one of the Paris attackers may have possessed a stolen Syrian passport has made the issue controversial and complicated.

President Obama has denounced some of the reactions, including a proposal to screen the refugees based on their religion, as "shameful," and assures that all must pass a thorough vetting process, Bloomberg reported.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, meanwhile, has described his fellow governors' comments about Syrians as "political showmanship," the Associated Press reported.

Though all of the lawmakers who signed the letter are DFL'ers, not all Minnesota Democrats been completely opposed to blocking Syrian immigration. Reps. Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan voted with Republicans in the House of Representatives last week to restrict the entry of Syrians into the U.S.

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