Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov issues the following statement in opposition to restrictions on refugees:
I am a refugee.
In 1989, at age 13, I fled anti-Semitic violence and hatred in my homeland of Azerbaijan. For several months, my family and I journeyed through Russia, Austria, and Italy without a permanent place to call home. The United States took us in.
The United States is a nation of immigrants. Giving home to migrants fleeing oppression is a value that predates the founding of our country. Just as the United States accepted me and my family, we have a duty today to open our arms to those fleeing religious extremism, persecution, and genocide.