“To Be or Not to Be;” So, do we or do we not let Syrian refugees into the United States? This would seem to be one of the greatest debates in US history especially following so many Islamic, ISIS, and Al Qaeda related terrorist attacks in the US and the UK. There is currently a proposal on the Hill to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees safe passage to the United States. Although, as many as 100,000 Syrians have already been granted passage into the US through work, education and tourist visas since 2012, One of the arguments that has a large swing vote is the fear that many of these refugees may be sleeper cell terrorists. However, according to the US Customs & Border Protection Agency, there have been as many as 60,000 Syrian visa holders who have enter the US since 2012 and of those, about 16,245 were just in the last year,
“The sheer number of people arriving on all kinds of visas and with green cards, and possibly U.S. citizenship, makes it impossible for our counterterrorism authorities to keep track of them all, much less prevent them from carrying out attacks or belatedly try to deport them.”
— Jessica Vaughan, Representative for the Center for Immigration Studies
“It is highly unlikely that the 102,313 Syrians who were admitted over the past three years were effectively vetted. Even in countries where we have a strong diplomatic presence, the sheer volume of background checks being carried out precludes the kind of thorough vetting that is necessary.”
— Ira Mehlman, Representative for the Federation for American Immigration Reform
If the notion of background checks are the issue at hand, then this should be the same for any nationality of people wanting to defect to the US and since there is a possible threat of terrorism on US soil, then we need to devote more resources to more thorough background checks for all refugees! That said, perhaps it is the activist in me but I do not see an issue with allowing people of foreign countries including Mexico who wish to make the US their new home, as long as the proper background checks have been completed.
I get it; people are scared about letting potential terrorists in to the US but not every Middle Eastern person is a terrorist which is no different than the way many treated people after 9/11 on airplanes. Furthermore, this is no different than educating people that not every black person is a criminal simply because a handful of this race are. Likewise, not every person from Mexico is an undocumented worker nor should they be reduced to working landscape. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “We need to come together as brothers or perish as fools.” The point is that we need to be more respectful of others who differ from who we are.
Donald Trump would have us believe that every Syrian citizen has ISIS on their speed dial. I remember when I moved from St. Louis to St. Joseph, Missouri, which is a remote college town north of Kansas City and when others found out I was from St. Louis, they asked me if I knew Nelly? People just assume that if we are from some known location, then we must have connections to others (celebrities, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.) just because we are associated with what their idea of social connections must be, So, do we investigate every high school or college student simply because others in their shoes have committed acts of terrorism by killing people in schools and movie theatres? Do, we run background checks on movie patrons? When do we stop pointing fingers?