With the growing military tensions in the Middle East, the number of political refugees fleeing their home countries has substantially increased. This year, Europe has lived through an unprecedented increase in the number of political refugees, who are willing to relocate to European countries or go further to the United States. The world has been mostly sympathetic with the desperation facing Syrians. The war in Syria has already killed thousands of people, displacing millions of others. Yet, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, more Syrian refugees face rejection. They are denied the slightest opportunity to enter Europe and the U.S. The latter needs a coherent, comprehensive and systemic policy to restrain the inflow of Syrian refugees, while giving some of them a chance to survive. Such policy should include thorough background checks, rationing the number of refugees across U.S. states, and providing budget compensation to those states, which agree to accept political refugees from Syria.
As more Syrian refugees reach the U.S. borders looking for political shelter, questions emerge as to whether the country can adequately react to the issue of political immigration from the Middle East. The U.S. has historically been sympathetic with the people, who were fated to leave their native land under the threat of physical extinction. Since 2011, 1,500 Syrian refugees were allowed to legally enter the U.S. (Fantz & Brumfield). The Obama administration has announced that another 10,000 political refugees would be allowed to enter next year (Fantz & Brumfield).
Yet, the problem is that, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, more states come to perceive Syrian refugees as a potential threat to domestic security, mounting opposition to the growing inflow of immigrants from the Middle East. At present, 31 state governors say they are not willing to see Syrian refugees in their communities (Fantz & Brumfield). The White House responds that “states do not have legal authority to refuse to accept Syrian refugees” (CBS). However, individual states can potentially complicate the process of accepting refugees (Fantz & Brumfield). Without all states participating in the refugee crisis, the White House will face an arduous task (Fantz & Brumfield). Obviously, the growing number of the state governors who oppose the growing inflow of Syrian refugees “reflects their lack of confidence that the Obama administration is delivering a credible plan to address public safety issues and the impact on the welfare of their citizens” (Carafano, Bucci, & Inserra). This being said, a new systemic policy is required to strike an optimal balance of sympathy, refugee acceptance, citizen welfare, and national security.
Such policy will necessarily include three elements. These are intelligence-based risk assessments, rationing, and federal budget compensation to foster states’ compliance with the constitutional immigration requirements. That is, the purpose of the proposed policy is not simply to force states into complying with the existing laws but to increase their motivation to solve the problem by offering monetary incentives from the federal budget. This being said, the process of accepting Syrian refugees to the U.S. will become much lengthier. Every individual who is willing to enter the U.S. and positions himself or herself as a Syrian refugee will have to undergo a thorough intelligence-based check. According to Carafano, Bucci, and Inserra, the needs of Syrian refugees coming from refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan will be prioritized. That is, they will be the first to be allowed to undergo an intelligence assessment prior to entering the U.S. Women with children, particularly disabled children, will also have an intelligence assessment priority. Only those refugees whose intelligence information can be easily obtained will be considered for further permission to enter the U.S. (Carafano, Bucci, & Inserra).
Furthermore, the number of Syrian refugees to relocate to the U.S. will be evenly distributed across all states. This is how the White House can avoid refugee overcrowding, while minimizing the existing opposition to Syrian immigration on the side of some state governors. In response to the Obama administration that will allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to enter the U.S. in the coming year, States will have to be confident that they have enough material resources to manage refugee needs. Such resources can be administered under the Refugee Act of 1980, which allows making funds available to States under contracts for targeted assistance, medical screening and assistance, and related services for refugees (Office of Refugee Resettlement). States will assume responsibility for managing the needs of the Syrian refugees who are allowed to enter the U.S., while providing regular reports to the White House regarding their assimilation into the culture and economy of the United States. As a country in a deep financial crisis, the U.S. will use the proposed policy to balance its national security interests and the global population needs. The proposed initiative will empower States to promote the principles of legal and ethical compliance in response to the Syrian crisis.
To sum up, a good policy covering Syrian refugees should include three elements. These are intelligence-based background checks, rationing, and federal financial support to states. The proposed policy will reduce the opposition expressed by many state governors concerning the growing number of Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. It will also ensure sufficient levels of domestic security and citizen welfare across the states, while allowing Syrian refugees to begin their lives from scratch. In a long-term perspective, the proposed policy will improve the global image of the U.S. in responding to the Syrian crisis.
- Carafano, James, Steven Bucci, & David Inserra. “What a Responsible Syrian Refugee Policy Looks Like for US after Paris Attacks.” Daily Signal, 17 Nov 2015. Web. 8 Dec 2015.
CBS. “White House: States Can’t Say No to Syrian Refugees.” CBS, 25 Nov 2015. Web. 8 Dec 2015.
- Fantz, Ashley & Ben Brumfield. “More than Half the Nation’s Governors Say Syrian Refugees Not Welcome.” CNN, 19 Nov 2015. Web. 8 Dec 2015.
- Office of Refugee Resettlement. “The Refugee Act.” Office of Refugee Resettlement, 29 Aug 2012. Web. 8 Dec 2015.