President Clinton greets Syrian refugees with cupcakes, compassion and puppies
Forty-two Syrian refugee families flying into JFK today were greeted by wild cheers from American citizens and heartfelt handshakes from President Hillary Rodham Clinton, who warmly welcomed them to America.
“This is who we are, and this is what America is: A country proudly founded on immigrants,” said Clinton, before quoting the Emma Lazarus poem emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty from memory in its entirety.
As the 42 Syrian families disembarked from the plane and entered U.S. soil for the first time, their arrival was celebrated by terrific performances from the Harlem GlobeTrotters and the New York All-City Marching Band, which played a tear-jerking rendition of “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is Our Land. ”
Sunny Obama, the former First Dog, ran up to the newcomers as a they entered the terminal, and airport attendants handed each person a slice of cake as they arrived at Customs.
“It’s pretty basic, really. We just want to make everyone feel welcome here. They’ve had it pretty tough up to this point,” said Gerald Frink, chief security officer of JFK.
Other airports are starting to follow suit, with O’Hare greeting refugees similarly this week, SFO offering artisan coffee in reusable mugs to all incoming refugees, and DFW bringing in a miniature petting zoo to keep refugee children entertained while alighted from the plane.