The recognition that the Syrian refugee issue had reached a crisis became apparent this past fall. Thousands of Syrians attempted to push their way into the European Union in a desperate attempt to flee the ravages of civil war in their homeland. As the world watched this tragedy unfold, serious issues were raised, including the possibility that terrorists might be among the refugees. Sadly, this became reality when a terror attack unfolded in Paris, France in November, 2015. One hundred twenty-nine individuals were killed. A refugee was implicated in the attacks. Quickly, governors and politicians in the United States began to denounce any plans to allow Syrian refugees into the United States. This is an incorrect response and one grounded in fear. The process by which refugees arrive in the United States is much different than the one by which they arrived in Europe. There are greater safety nets in place. There are also benefits to allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. This paper will discuss the reasons why Syrian refugees should be allowed into the United States.
Syrian refugees cannot merely walk to the United States as they did with Europe. It is impossible. They also cannot hire someone to take them in a small boat or dinghy as many of them did in Europe. They must apply for actual resettlement as asylum refugees under the terms of the program by the United Nations. This is a lengthy process that requires significant background checks on the individual. The process may actually take years and during this time, the refugees will wait in refugee camps. They will not show up on American soil next week without anyone checking their passports or credentials. For American politicians to suggest this is both irresponsible and immoral.
It is not likely that Syrian refugees support ISIS and terrorism. ISIS and terrorism have destroyed their homeland, where many of them would likely prefer to stay. Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson stated that they wanted to return to their homeland. This is not political rhetoric. This is likely true. How many of us would like to leave our homeland, everything we know and everyone we love behind us? It is not likely that many of us would prefer to be shipped off to a foreign country where we do not know the language, the culture or the values. We would not want to start again in a country with no home, no job and no money. No, likely most of us would want to return to our previous lives before the war. We would want our lives to go back to the comforts we once knew.
Sadly, this cannot be for the Syrians. Since terror and terrorism, such as ISIS, drove them from their homeland, what are the odds that they would support these concepts? Terrorism destroyed everything the Syrians loved, much as it destroyed the lives of 129 individuals in Paris, as well as the lives of their family and friends. They are not terrorists; like us, they are the victims of terrorists. We should recognize this common bond. We should build a relationship from this bond.
Welcoming them to the United States also strengthens the United States both internally and externally. We are not only a country of immigrants, we are a country of refugees. This multicultural and diverse history has made us the greatest country in the world. If we turn our back on the Syrian refugees, we are turning our back on ourselves and our history. Furthermore, by welcoming them into our land, we are showing the world and the terrorists that they cannot hold our values hostage. If the terrorists succeed in changing our values, they have won. They know this.
We must allow the Syrians refugees to enter the United States with due process through the United Nations resettlement program. In this way, we will protect the welfare of the United States while also showing that we still cherish our values. The program may take years and this is for safety. However, in the end, we should allow them to come here.