From: Nelson, Colleen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, November 21, 2015 12:27 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO
Subject: Travel Pool Report #5 -- Obama refugee remarks
At the Dignity for Children Foundation, the pool was led into a room where President Obama was seated with 7 teen-aged and young adult refugees, all of whom will be coming to the United States.
Obama, who was now in shirtsleeves, said he wanted to acknowledge the Malaysian government for welcoming refugees to the country.
“One of the reasons that I wanted to come visit here is because globally we’re seeing an unprecedented number of refugees. The world is rightly focused on the humanitarian tragedy taking place in Syria but we can’t forget that there are millions of other refugees from war-torn parts of the world. In fact, 60 million people are displaced all around the world.”
He mentioned his visit with the young children, many of whom “have gone through extraordinary hardships,” and taken “tough journeys.” He said most of them were Rohinga. He said he was hopeful that in the transition in Myanmar they would be treated fairly and justly in their own country.
“They’re deserving of the world’s protection and the world’s support. Anybody who had a chance to see those kids, hopefully you understood the degree to which they’re just like our kids. They deserve love and protection and stability and an education. They are lucky they are here at this wonderful center and getting that kind of support, but there are a lot of children just like them who are not."
"That’s the face of not only refugees from Myanmar. That’s the face of Syrian children, and Iraqi children, children from war-torn regions of Sudan."
“When I sat there and talked to them and they were drawing or doing their math problems, they were indistinguishable from any child in America. The notion that somehow we would be fearful of them, that our politics would somehow leave them to turn our sights away from their plight, is not representative of the best of who we are.”
More quotes from Obama to come. Many thanks to Mike Memoli and Andrew Beatty for the continued assist on a busy day in Kuala Lumpur.
Obama's motorcade departed the center at 12:10 p.m. and headed back to his hotel for a civil society roundtable. The pool is holding at the hotel.