Scared-of-their-shadow Republicans (and a few Democrats) are trying to block Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. They must not be allowed to win for the following reasons.
- The situation reminds me of how our country turned away Jews who were trying to flee from Nazi Germany in the late 1930's. Tens of thousands of Jews died because of our disgraceful behavior. Let us not repeat the same mistake twice.
- There are plenty of screening mechanisms in place to make sure Daesh operatives are not amongst the refugees. Peter Beinart writes in his Must-Read column
refugees can’t get into the country without an arduous screening process. As the Migration Policy Institute’s Kathleen Newland notes, the “refugee resettlement program is the least likely avenue for a terrorist to choose. Refugees who are selected for resettlement to the United States go through a painstaking, many-layered review before they are accepted. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and national intelligence agencies independently check refugees’ biometric data against security databases. The whole process typically takes 18-24 months, with high hurdles for security clearance.” The screening process for Syrian refugees is particularly grueling, so grueling, in fact, that since that country’s civil war broke out four years ago, only about 2,000 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the United States.
- If Syrian refugees are not allowed in here, and much of Europe adopts the same attitude, then where will they go? Turning the most desperate away is inhumane.
- We will be handing Daesh a great recruiting tool if we turn all refugees away.. Now they will be able to point to our rejection as an example of how we hate Muslims and encourage more to join them in a clash of civilizations. Here is Vice President Joe Biden describing how rejection of Syrian refugees helps ISIS.
- French President Francois Hollande pledged that France would take in 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years. He made this pledge after the Paris terror attacks. As an American, I am ashamed that the GOP (and a few Democrats) are making the U.S. look like cowards next to France.
The French gave us the Statue of Liberty in 1886 to commemorate the French and American ideals of freedom and democracy. The following message by Emma Lazarus is part of a poem engraved in the Statue's base
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
No doubt ISIS would love to blow up the Statue of Liberty. The Republicans, and a few cowardly Democrats, have effectively done that for them.
The cowards of today who are condemning Syrian Refugees to misery and death are similar to the cowards of the late 1930's and early 1940's who condemned Jews to die in the Holocaust by refusing to let them in because they feared they could be unwilling spies working for Germany. That fear existed in June 1939 when the U.S. turned away the ocean liner St. Louis. A quarter of its 937 passengers, almost all Jewish, died in the Holocaust. The fear increased when Herbert Karl Friederich Bahr, a German spy, tried to enter the U.S. as a refugee. (Bahr wasn't Jewish, but such trivial details were apparently unimportant to anti-refugee fear mongerers back then.) I encourage you to read this article and compare the refugee situation just before and during World War II with the refugee situation today. Historians have concluded that the fear of spying was overblown back then, just as I suspect future historians will conclude that the fear of terrorism being used to keep out Syrian refugees is oveblown today.