Refugee Reality Check

We keep thinking about what might happen if we do accept
Syrian refugees. But perhaps we need to think about what will happen if we
don’t accept Syrian refugees.
If we do accept refugees from Syria we are nervous that
terrorists may make it to America. I am a true chicken. I understand fear. It
feels scary to host people who could harbor hate against us. We are assured
that we screen refugees with such care that it is highly unlikely anyone could
get through the process but we remember Boston and those Tsarnaev brothers who
came in as refugees and were radicalized once they were here. Our fears are not
baseless but we must admit that the number of refugees that might become bad
actors will be very small. We live almost daily with shootings. These threats
hardly seem different from the many mass shootings we have experienced. As for
enabling an enormous influx of rabid terrorists – only a full scale invasion
could do that and I don’t think our enemies have that capability yet.
The reasons, beyond the humanitarian ones, in favor of
accepting Syrian refugees are much more compelling. First, we cannot afford to
let the Republicans, who want to get elected in 2016, play us. If they make us
frightened enough and then offer to save us with their toughness they believe
this fear will drive us to put a Republican in the White House. Please prove to
the GOP that you are not that easily manipulated.
An even greater reason why we have to fight our fears and
accept Syrian refugees is because we owe it to our allies in Europe and
elsewhere. We have hung back in two world wars because they did not begin in
America, but we eventually fought with our allies when we understood that if
our friends lost we would only have enemies left.
This time the “war” began with us, very dramatically, on 9/11.
This attack was a game changer and our old friends stood with us once more. Now
we must not try to isolate ourselves even though our fears may prove real
(although, I suspect, not on the scale GOP candidates warn of). We must stand
with the friends we have forged as we have battled to keep the free world free.
We must even accept old opponents as allies for as long as they prove true to
our common goals. We cannot expect Europe to deal all alone with people fleeing
terrorists. Even though there is a big ocean between us we cannot afford to use
this geographical advantage to remain relatively safe and aloof. I doubt it
will work for long and, in the end, we will wish we had stuck with our
alliances.
More selfishly, flooding Europe with refugees could put
Europe’s economy in jeopardy. Our economic fates are tied together and are just
one aspect of the ways in which our individual existences as powerful political
entities are closely connected.
We are Americans. We need to suck it up and stand with our
friends. 

Note: (According to the NYT of 11/25/15 the Tsarnaev brothers were not refugees. They came seeking political asylum.)

By Nancy Brisson

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