One of the biggest topics in today’s politics is whether or not Syrian refugees should be allowed into the US. There are many different opinions when it comes to this issue, especially among politicians and government officials.  Some believe that as Americans, it is our duty to help others when they are in need. On the other side of the issue many officials believe that no one can guarantee the fact that someone or multiple people coming into the country aren’t terrorists. Also they stress the issue of bringing all of these refugees will cost a lot of money. Both sides are supported with many quotes and facts from the officials within the United States government. My purpose in writing this article was to provide both arguments of this issue with as many quotations and facts as possible.

According to the NBC article “More Governors Seek to Ban Syrian Refugees After Paris Massacre” written by Leigh Ann Caldwell, there are at least two dozen governors (mostly Republicans) who have expressed their concerns about the Syrian refugees coming to the United States. For example, reported by Bradner and Barrett, Ben Carson wrote a letter to the current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan made a statement about relocating the Syrian refugees saying, “I to resettle refugees and/or migrants from Syria into the United States, effective immediately.” Senator Richard Burr (R) of North Carolina had written a similar statement. Yet there has been some discussion on whether or not the states actually have the right to create policies to keep Syrian refugees from entering their state. Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich spoke saying that the states “do not have the authority” and they are really only allowed to “express their concerns”.

Many continue to take action; Senator Rand Paul, another 2016 candidate, introduced a legislation that would block the US from issuing visas to refugees from other countries with a high risk of terrorism in an effort to “stop terrorists from walking in our front door.” These politicians explain that the reason they believe refugees should not be allowed into the country is because no one can guarantee that acts of terrorism or people working with ISIS will not get into the country. For example, in an interview with Bill Bennett from Morning in America, Paul Ryan asked how the president will ensure that the thousands of Syrian refugees that want to settle into the United States will not be involved in terrorism. Ryan explained that President Obama has still not given a clear answer to this question, and that it is very concerning.  

Another issue that these officials have regarding this problem is they believe that certain political leaders such as President Obama and Hillary Clinton completely disregard the problem of these attacks as terrorism, and they call it a sort of “extremism”. According to Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post, Senator Ted Cruz (R) explains his opinion that for the past couple of years that Obama has been in office, he has “abandoned” our allies and has “coddled” our enemies. Cruz states, “Both president Obama and Hillary Clinton want to define the enemy as some sort of abstract extremism, which means they cannot direct a strategy to defeat it because they cannot acknowledge who they’re fighting.” Many republicans believe that it has been too long, and the reason that there hasn’t been any positive improvement towards defeating ISIS is because of Obama’s lack of defining this problem as terrorism.

On the opposite side of this argument, Obama and other Democrats are stressing the fact that it is not in American values to “slam the door in their faces when they are in need”. He explains that the refugees will have to go through strict screening before being allowed into the US. The screening is explained in more detail by Lavinia Limón, the head of the US C Committee for Refugees and Immigrants; she described it as an “arduous” process and that she cannot explain every detail of because of confidentiality purposes so, each refugee must be reviewed by multiple US intelligence agencies.  According to Bradner and Barrett of CNN, Obama states, “Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security.”  Obama’s administration agrees strongly with this and does not seem to be giving in to what the opposition wants. One governor who strongly backed Obama was Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D). He is showing the issue in light of the people in Syria who have nothing to do with terrorism and how they don’t have anywhere else to turn. Also from the CNN article, O’Malley states, “Scapegoating an entire religious community and rejecting those fleeing ISIL terrorism and persecution is what the terrorists want.”

Another controversy within this issue is that the US cannot be making remarks about letting in Christian refugees yet not letting in Muslims. The website The Guardian wrote an article about Obama speaking to the Philippines explaining that it makes some Americans seem like they are being discriminatory against Muslims when he says,“… When you see individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land…” He became very frustrated when stating that it’s totally against American values to discriminate based on a religion.

After exploring both opinions of this issue in detail, my opinion is somewhat in between the two. I strongly believe that the Syrian refugees should not be let into this country at this point in time. I am not saying that they should never be allowed in the country at all, just for a certain amount of time. There is no way that any official or politician in this country can ensure the fact that a refugee that is coming into this country will not have ideas or contact with terrorists back at home. Security can make sure that no weaponry or explosives are brought into this country, but they won’t know who they could possibly be giving information to about the US. The reason why I do not totally agree with shutting them out completely is the fact that it is cruel as Americans to just leave them and not provide any assistance. It is our job to help others when they are in need, even when they are not our civilians. We should help the helpless, and we should provide them with as many resources as possible. Thinking of being in a similar situation if I was scared to live in the place I had spent my whole life, I would hope that someone would try to provide assistance. I believe in all it is our duty as Americans to first keep our own citizens safe, and then secondly try to make a positive change in the world. I believe in this scenario, there is a way to achieve both.

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