This has been popping up all over the news in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. Over half the governors in the US are publicly opposed to resettling refugees in their state, mostly republicans taking advantage of populous sentiment.
I too am wary about immigrants from the middle east, but I don’t think we should close the borders down, at least not in the US. We seem to be pretty decent at absorbing people with less issues, but I’m not sure how much of that just has to do with better selections of immigrants (harder to get here from overseas, maybe we are getting more of the cream of the crop) or just our particular national attributes.
I do think we should do more advanced screening of any Syrian refugees or any other potentially compromised populations, and that extends to surveillance (Not one of these Rand Paul types, surveillance in the service of weeding these types of radicals out is something I’m OK with, even though those same tools can be used for ill, I do not see the US government as the equivalent of Russia/Iran in its intentions).
I don’t think there’s any good solution, and I certainly don’t have one to offer.
To start with some facts, 682,000 Syrian refugees have applied for asylum in Europe thus far, most in the past year. Millions more refugees are in Middle Eastern countries. That’s on top of hundreds of thousands more from other countries.
Few European countries want to take a large number of them. Germany and Sweden have taken the largest number, but their resources seem to be stretched to the limit. Many European countries would be happy taking none. Eastern Europe has little infrastructure for settling and integrating immigrants. Moreover, most of the immigrants don’t want to settle there. They mainly came through Greece, up the Balkans, and through Hungary and Austria, but they didn’t intend to stay in any of those countries. Germany was where they intended to go.
Why Germany? In a word, welfare. The German system is famously generous.
Refugees generally want to go where their families are. People are funny that way. Beyond that, they prefer countries where they have have social networks. That’s how you get jobs, learn how to navigate bureaucracies, and make a life for yourself. Going in to an existing community is a totally different thing that being alone in a random country where you don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language.
The US investigates resettling refugees extensively. It’s an arduous process that takes years, and many people cannot get through it. We have tens of thousands of translators from Iraq and Afghanistan who risked their life to work for us and are in immediate danger every day. And despite them being “our guys” and the enormous political will that exists to get them safe, they are still being cleared very slowly. There is no way to skip or speed up the process, even when everybody is on the same page. Nobody is going to get in without extensive vetting.
Almost all refugees are fleeing the conflict, not trying to spread it. The politically expedient bigotry of the Republican mainstream cannot be exaggerated. they are the ‘know-nothings’ of this century.
Yes, screen. Yes, provide humanitarian aid and opportunity.
Don’t aid and assist Daesh by increasing the suffering of refugees.
No, to the OP. Don’t react in fear like we did after 9/11 – and invaded the wrong country, tortured people, invaded privacy… and made America weaker in many ways. Strength is not changing our identity, and not rejecting those who need refuge. Have good screenings and good security, but don’t halt our assistance to refugees.
The biggest danger of attacks like Paris in America comes from people already in America, not those outside of it. It will always be easy to kill people in a free and open society.
Isn’t the vetting process the central issue? I’ve read that there are plans to allow 10,000 in the country within a year. If, in fact, your statement that this process normally takes much longer, I can see the concern. Especially with ISIS’s statement that they will embed in the refugee flow and the more recent threat they’ve made to conduct a Paris style attack in Washington.
I find it particularly shameful in my state where not that long ago we had a two-term governor of Syrian descent (Mitch Daniels - admittedly not entirely Syrian and Christian, but still…).
It’s playing into the hands of ISIS, who want to drive an insurmountable wedge between Muslims and everyone else and deny safe haven to those fleeing their wars and violence.
It’s short-sighted - sure, ban all Syrians (never mind the millions of people who will suffer and die due to that policy), then ISIS and Al Qaeda and their cousins will just infiltrate via operatives of other nationalities, and continue to recruit from the populations of their target countries. It doesn’t solve the problem, it’s just more false security theater.
Of course I understand that Europe is not enthused about absorbing a million (give or take a hundred thousand or two) refugees in just this year alone. It WILL strain the resources of their nations. Of course we should vet newcomers to our country. But let’s all try to be sensible about things and let’s not give into fear.
No. It serves no purpose to keep them out. It doesn’t make any western nation more secure by banning people who need help from entering. The US should specifically up the number of refugees from the ME who need help. Sadly, we seem to be going in the opposite direction.
Does anyone else ge the feeling that denying the refugees entry to the US is probably what ISIS wants?
“Your enemy’s enemy is your friend.”
ISIS doesn’t need to sneek into the refugees anymore, they just need us to scorn them, turn them away and reject them. If we treat them bad enough ISIS may get recruits from the people they first ran off.
No, we should not halt immigration from Syrian refugees. We (the US that is) refused to lift restrictions on European Jewish refugees during the rise of the Third Reich. That’s enough shameful heartlessness for one century, thankyouverymuch.
I think the people objecting to allowing Syrian refugees in aren’t worried about the Syrian refugees themselves being terrorists. They’re worried about terrorists hiding among refugees to come into the country.
People who believe that there’s a high risk of terrorists coming in this way, and who don’t see much downside to US interests from keeping these folks out, would view it as a sensible, prudent policy to turn them away.
I don’t agree with this view, largely because I think the risk of terrorists hiding among the refugees is overblown and can be reasonably mitigated, and I believe in the philanthropic value of taking these people in, but I wouldn’t say it’s wholly unreasonable for someone to take the opposite view. Placing a very high premium on keeping terrorists out, and being skeptical that we can adequately vet ten thousand or more strangers showing up at our borders from a region known to be rife with terrorists, is understandable to me.