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This statement is signed by King County Executive Dow Constantine and other elected officials from across the United States.

Our values only have meaning if they are supported by our actions.

As a nation whose motto is E pluribus unum—“out of many, one”—the Syrian refugee crisis is an occasion for us to match our actions to our words.

At a time when leaders in Congress and in many states are abandoning this fundamental American principle, we as elected leaders of the nation's metropolitan regions stand ready to welcome men, women and children fleeing war-torn countries.

The recent attacks in Paris raise legitimate concerns about security, concerns we all share as county leaders. The State Department has an effective, rigorous screening process, one that can sometimes take years to complete and is far more thorough than the background checks conducted for visitors. To those not assuaged, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI play a critical role as well.

If we turn away orphans, widows, and people who have been tortured, we risk providing terrorist organizations the powerful recruitment tool they seek, both here and abroad.

We encourage our federal leaders to act responsibly, and consistently with basic American values, and to avoid actions that would betray our nation’s principles and put our country at greater risk.

This is, above all else, a humanitarian crisis—one to which we as metropolitan regions are willing and able to respond. At a time when fear and anxiety can cause us to make poor decisions that endanger the lives of innocent people, and increase the risk of an attack against our country, we are committed to ensuring that America remains a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom.

Signatures by elected officials:

Dow Constantine
King County Executive
Seattle, Washington

Maggie Hart Stebbins, District 3
Bernalillo County Commission, Chair
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Marilyn Brown
Franklin County Board of Commissioners, President
Columbus, Ohio

Judge Clay Jenkins
Dallas County
Dallas, Texas

Isiah Leggett
Montgomery County Executive
Rockville, Maryland

George Leventhal
President, Montgomery County Council
Rockville, Maryland

Loretta Smith
Multnomah County Commissioner
Portland, Oregon

Rushern Baker, III
Prince George's County Executive
Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Toni Preckwinkle 
President, Cook County Board 
Chicago, Illinois

Jim McDonough 
Board Chair, Ramsey County 
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Deborah Kafoury 
Chair, Multnomah County 
Portland, Oregon

Ben McAdams 
Mayor, Salt Lake County 
Salt Lake City, Utah

Chris Abele 
Milwaukee County Executive 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Angel Estrada 
Freeholder, Union County 
Elizabeth, New Jersey

Judy Shiprack
Multnomah County Commissioner
Portland, Oregon

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography