I guess I’m not only a bleeding heart liberal but also a socialist. I’ve come to this conclusion after listening to American politicians say “they’d heard enough to make one immediate conclusion: There’s no place for Syrian refugees in the U.S.” In the State of Massachusetts, where I’ve lived for the past sixty-five years, the newly elected GOTP Gov. Charlie Baker says he’s opposed to allowing Syrian refugees into the state in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Thankfully the decision is ultimately not his to make. Under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees from settling in their communities, according to Lavinia Limon, president and CEO of the U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigration.
Shutting the door to Syrian refugees, the people who are fleeing Syria are the very people who are harmed most by terrorism, turning our backs on these refugees now is not the humane thing to do. It is quintessentially a cowardly, un-American thing to do, our colors don’t run and in the US we always offer aid and succor to those in need.
Senator, self proclaimed Social Democrat, and Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said it best, “During these difficult times, we will not succumb to Islamophobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees who are fleeing Syria and Afghanistan. We will do what we do best and that is be Americans – fighting racism, fighting xenophobia, fighting fear.”
I believe his statement is true, something we should all stand up for as part of our social contract, and not close our doors in fear. Were the US to refuse these refugees admittance to our shores we would be giving ISIS a great victory. The Militant Jihadist would then be able to claim that America doesn’t care about the suffering of Muslims, they spurn you and send you away and the saddest part would be if we listened to those voices on the far Right the message of ISIS would be true.
Would we be safe if we closed our borders and refused admittance to refugees? No, the threat would still exist because there are many who seek to do harm within and without the US. If we welcome the Syrian refugees and offer them a chance to become legal American citizens would a small fraction do harm anyway? Most assuredly so but by doing the humane thing we deny ISIS a powerful recruitment tool.
Open the doors, close the doors neither would ensure our safety but closing the doors will ensure that we’ve surrendered our values in the face of bullies and that is never an acceptable choice. So I say that the US should open our doors and welcome those seeking refuge because we Americans are made of stronger, more compassionate stuff than fear and xenophobia.