Domestic fear of terrorism restricts entry for Syrian refugees

A man yells "Return to your country!" to refugees.

In the aftermath of recent attacks in Paris, the countries around the world must evaluate refugee resettlement programs with respect to Daesh and the Syrian Civil War. Support must be projected around the world rather than fear.

Here in the U.S., more than thirty governors were quick to deny entry to Syrian refugees. They claimed that these decisions were in the interest of safety for U.S. citizens, but their fears are unfounded. While every politician should be keeping the safety of his constituents in mind, these governors have no right to suggest preventing the federal government from resettling refugees.

The safety of American citizens and the proper treatment of Syrian refugees is compatible. However, it is not possible to publicly express sympathy with these victims of terrorism and then claim that some automatically have ties to ISIS as Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal suggested in his open letter to Obama.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has resettled more than 750,000 global refugees, according to the Migration Policy Institute. It was stated that not a single one has been involved in an act of terrorism, and only three were ever suspected for sympathizing with terrorist groups. However, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, suggested that as many as 180 Americans attempted to travel to Syria with many being charged of crimes.

If ISIS has demonstrated that there is little difficulty in recruiting fighters around the world, why would they go through the trouble of pushing people through a long resettlement process that would filter out extremists? The United States has been able to prevent extremists of any other hate group from infiltrating domestic soil through migration, and ISIS is not, nor will it ever be, any different.

Here’s the truth: terrorism relies on fear being spread around the world. The only purpose for leaving Syrian documentation at the crime scenes in Paris was to instill fear of Syrian refugees. The western world is not the only victim of terrorism, and while it is easy to observe the world from our biased perspective, it is entirely incorrect.

Keep in mind that by January of 2015, the UN estimated a total of 220,000 Syrian casualties fueled by Islamist extremists and a corrupt regime. A total of more than half the country’s population is displaced.

I truly sympathize with the victims of terrorism in Paris, but we must remember that there are other victims elsewhere in the world. We must not validate ISIS by refusing to help their victims. Statistics and figures can be excellent at distorting who these refugees are, but they are human and deserve our compassion and empathy. That is why it is a great injustice for U.S. governors to hypocritically deny entry to Syrians in need.




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