In light of the terrorist attacks in Paris, conservative America chomped at the bit to try and use the tragedy to rationalize why we shouldn’t invite Syrian refugees into our nation. Without waiting for all of the details of the horrific event to come out (including the fact that the attacks were primarily executed by European nationals), conservatives had already made up their minds that opening our country to refugees is to invite the Islamic State to our doorstep.
First off, shame on you if you couldn’t wait for the bodies of the victims to grow cold before you attempted to push out your two-bit hot take. Using a national tragedy in which hundreds died to further your political agenda within the same minute that you read the headline is disgusting. Even if you waited to publish your half-baked diatribe on the topic, it would still fail to address the mind-blowing statistic that out of the approximately 784,000 refugees resettled to America since 9/11, not a single one has been involved in a terrorist attack. Crazy, right?
Despite all of this fearmongering and ignoring of facts, I’m much more concerned with the group of poor excuses for governors that have issued statements about how they won’t be accepting Syrian refugees into their states. Ignoring past Supreme Court precedent and attempting to gain popularity among their voter base, these governors have grossly overstepped their bounds as elected leaders of their states, and instead have tried to make the lives of these refugees and their chances of making it to the United States that much harder. Even President Obama has invited governors and senators “popping off” at him to come up with a better solution.
These refugees have endured suffering that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Their options are to either fight for Syrian President al-Assad, a violent despot with a penchant for making entire families disappear, or be subject to the rule of ISIS, which has its own brand of horrifying violence. The lucky ones capable of escaping Syria get the exciting fortune of living in a refugee camp, where conditions are still hardly tolerable. Then, they can attempt to illegally make their way into Europe, or wait for two years to apply to the United States as a refugee and wait for another two years before they hear back, with a potential to not be accepted. Is this any kind of life that you would have wanted to go through, or your children, only to be subjugated to the xenophobia and racism of reluctant citizens of these countries taking them on?
The Statue of Liberty herself has a plaque affixed to the pedestal upon which she stands, saying “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...” When we ignore the cries for help of the Syrian people out of fear of providing a home for terrorists, we essentially let ISIS win. One of its goals is to paralyze democracy, and if we’re too scared of admitting less than 10,000 refugees a year, it’s taken the first steps in eroding our great state.
Sergey is a sophomore majoring in international studies. What’s your opinion on the refugee crisis? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org