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Argentine Jews Uneasy about Influx of Syrian Refugees

Argentine Jewish political umbrella DAIA head Ariel Cohen Sabban and other Jewish leaders met Argentina’s minister of security, Patricia Bullrich, to discuss the community’s need for security guarantees in the wake of a new influx of Syrian refugees negotiated by the European Union.

Since 2014, Argentina has a special humanitarian visa program in place for those affected by the civil war in Syria. 1,500 Syrians have already arrived. Another 3,000 are slated to come imminently.

“My grandfather came from Damascus, Syria. We agree with the humanitarian ideal,” Sabban iterated. 
When asked this week if the government would continue with the plan to receive the refugees, Argentina’s Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers Marcos Pena said, “We will not do anything to increase insecurity in our country. We are clear that terrorism has already hit our country twice, at the AMIA Jewish center and the Israeli Embassy. We are actively monitoring the security threats, especially with the current upheaval in the world.” 

Nevertheless he confirmed, “We believe our role should be to assist with the humanitarian emergency the way the US, the European Union and the international community are doing. We will continue our tradition of receiving immigrants. Some 1,500 have entered already.”

Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio added his assurance, “Our immigration office will do a very careful analysis of the refugees who will enter.”

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