Are You For or Against Syrian Refugees in Our Country?

Allowing refugees to proceed into our country by rescuing them from the horrors that is occurring in their own home is a national quandary.  Many fear that allowing these people into the United States poses a threat to our country.  Due to previous terrorist attacks, most Americans are more apprehensive to who we take in and believe that accepting these people gives them an upper hand to deceive our generosity and wreck havoc in America.

What is happening in Syria?

Syria's historical situation is more complex than what it seems, so I was able to extract basic information of what was occurring into a easier way of understanding.  In case you may not have known, the crisis in Syria has been active for five years now.  Beginning in March of 2011, Syrian citizens have been living among a civil war that is occurring in their country and this resulted in more than 200,000 casualties and more than 2 million refugees.  Anti-government demonstrations initiated by peaceful protesting soon turned violent and formed rebellions and extremist groups.  Bombs are being dropped in heavily populated cities and killing masses of people.  Families struggle to live in these conditions and seek help from other nations for aid.  Children had no choice but to stop going to school and were forced to work in dangerous conditions.

 

Debatable Opinions

To get some data, I asked a few of my peers, teachers and faculty to give their opinion on allowing refugees from Syria to enter the United States and here were the responses.

 

Pro

 

"I think my opinion of the Syrian refugee crisis is very much rooted in being a Jewish American.  My grandpa and his family immigrated to America to escape Nazi occupation in Austria.  They were incredibly lucky to get their visas when they did, a few weeks later they probably wouldn't have made it out.  My grandma's family immigrated to America before the Nazi occupation.  Her aunts and uncles and cousins were supposed to meet them in America over the next few years, but unfortunately they never made it out of Poland. To have this family history, it would be impossible for me to say we shouldn't be helping these people who are also living in horrific situations. We, as a country, need to vet these immigrants to make sure they are going to be positive influences in our society, but after a vetting process I think we should be helping as many refugees as we can. Personally I can't help but think about 75 years ago: if my grandpa's family wasn't given a visa then I wouldn't be here today; if my grandma's family members were given visas in time, I would have far more people in my family today.  Every refugee represents both of those options for me, so the more humans we can help, the better." Anonymous, Teacher

 

"My opinion in the Syrian refugee crisis is that the United States should intervene by taking in Syrian refugees.  It's going to be difficult because it's a new acculturation for us and it will impact us in socioeconomic ways and educational ways as well, but the United States has always been there for every single country and they've taken in many, many immigrants and that's really what makes up this country. So, to turn our backs on young kids and families who are being torn apart… I don't think it's something that we should do.  Should we limit the number?  Maybe that's a consideration amongst the states, but overall I do think that we should take in the Syrian refugees."

 

My question to them: What do you think about the United States focusing on our internal problems first before taking in other people?

 

"I think the country's always done that.  The country's always throughout history had its own internal issues, but in the same breath we've always been a country that has open doors for people who are seeking more independence and freedom. We still have a lot of challenges here to face.  I think we are going to face them if we have the right government in place moving forward, but still even with that we can't turn our backs on people who need our help" Anonymous, Faculty

 

"For me the Syrian Refugee Crisis is not even something I had to ponder over or struggle with.  The numbers speak for themselves; according to Amnesty International, there are 4.8 million Syrian refugees who have yet to find safe havens in welcoming countries worldwide, and although 80% of people in 27 countries said they would welcome refugees, only 9 of those 27 countries have committed to doing so.  And if 4.8 million living refugees is not a large enough number, how about the 250,000 people who have been killed in Syria since this conflict started?  We need to commit to helping and relocating Syrian refugees before more die not simply due to military conflict, but because of a lack of the basic necessities of life that we take for granted.  As a country founded on the very principle of sheltering those who have been oppressed and persecuted, I am in complete awe and frustration over the fact that we have not done much, if anything, to welcome Syrian refugees to America.  President Obama pledged to accept at least 10,000 refugees into America about 6 months ago, but due to a number of issues, this has become a great point of controversy and contention.  Many Americans fear that this will only increase the possibilities of more terrorism and these immigrants will take from the mouths of poor and struggling Americans.  Republican members of Congress, as well as an unnamed, xenophobic and racist “presidential” candidate have even furthered these sentiments only bolstering an atmosphere of fear in America.  To these detractors I ask, what about all the refugees from crises throughout history that we have taken in, many with open arms?  Is there a difference now that these particular refugees are not of a Christian or Jewish tradition?  Not only is this clearly a moral and ethical violation of the kind of freedom the first Americans sought after, it is an example of the type of hatred that is being bred not only in America, but throughout many of the countries of Europe today.  When I speak about all humans worldwide deserving the basic human necessities, I am not only referring to water, food, and shelter, but I am speaking about the right to education and employment.  We have the resources and space in America to accommodate people who lack these most basic of human rights.  Although we most certainly have our own issues involving the violation of human rights like police brutality, the water crisis in Flint, and others, how can we turn away from people who need our help?  I certainly don’t think we should get involved with helping every person worldwide who faces some form of adversity, but in this egregious case we can do something.  Outside of our overpopulated major cities we have large, unpopulated land where people can begin new lives free from oppression, persecution, and physical harm.  We have begun to take in some refugees, but the crisis is only getting worse; we need to bring our country together, including our elected officials, to offer hope to those who have none.  Just like my ancestors who arrived from hostile situations in both Ireland and Italy, they were able to start new lives here in the land of freedom and opportunity, but if I can’t convince those who disagree, maybe Emma Lazarus and Lady Liberty can, “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!” " Anonymous, Teacher

 

Con

 

"Well, usually when we talk about putting refugees into America it seems like a good thing because we're seen as a better nation and we get to help other people.  However, in this time period and the circumstances that we're in, I don't think it's the best thing to let the refugees in because we're not even economically capable ourselves.  We're going through our own strife, we have veterans that are homeless, jobless, and we have starving people on the streets, yet we want to open our arms and bring other people in when we can't even help our own people in our country.  Also, with the whole situation of ISIS occurring we don't really know who to really trust especially people who run away from them.  If ISIS see that we are vulnerable and that we're going to let these people in without thoroughly doing a background check, they would bring people who can go against the government in the future and they can manipulate/brainwash them- especially kids being that they are the most vulnerable and we wouldn't see them as liable to attack us. I know it seems like a harsh and messed thing to say but I do not think its the best thing to  bring in Syrian refugees. Anonymous, Student

 

"When I think about bringing in refugees I think about the war on terrorism.  I feel like one of the biggest reasons people want to bring refugees is to take them away from the terrorism in their country, however, I feel like at that point we're wasting resources, we're wasting time and we're wasting things by just trying to take them away from their problems.  I feel like there are resources that can be better used to actually fight the terrorism.  It's understandable that some people want to save more lives by taking in refugees, but I feel like at that point we will be bringing ourselves to a greater risk that terrorists will find ways to smuggle dangerous people in or even smuggle in explosives or other things that can cause damage to America and take advantage of our kindness.  As I mentioned earlier, the best thing to do would be to take the resources that would otherwise be wasted on taking in refugees and use that to try to take out the terrorist head on.  People will die, but in that crossfire and in the long run it will be best because looking out for future terrorist attacks is more important than saving handfuls of people at a time while also bringing a greater risk to us." Anonymous, Student

 

For more information on the Syrian Refugee Crisis, please visit

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/16979186

Let us know what you think in the comments below!