• Arizona House Democrats

PRESS RELEASE: House Democrats Respond to Lawrence Tirade on Refugees

Updated: Mar 9


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan 21, 2020


PHOENIX, State Capitol - House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez released the following statement in response to public remarks by Republican Rep. Jay Lawrence denigrating refugees and admitting to bigotry against their communities. Last session, the Arizona House unanimously passed a resolution in support of refugee resettlement, citing the economic and cultural benefits of being a welcoming state. And just last month Gov. Ducey reaffirmed that Arizona would continue to welcome refugees, an announcement that was praised by Speaker Bowers.


"No member of this House should be ok with being considered a bigot or supporting bigotry against refugees who are fleeing violence and oppression," said Fernandez, D-Yuma. "Representative Lawrence's comments weren't just shocking and mean-spirited, they were wrong on the facts. Refugees contribute strongly to our economy, starting businesses and at a much higher rate than the U.S.-born population, and contributing billions to state and local governments. And they add richly to the fabric of our culture and society, which is why we unanimously supported refugee resettlement efforts in the House last session and applauded the Governor's reaffirmation in December. Our caucus is proud that Arizona is a welcoming state for refugees and strongly condemn Representative Lawrence's statements."