by Robert Hilbig ‘16
As ISIS continues their campaign of terror throughout the world; the question of whether or not the United States should let in Syrian refugees is becoming more and more prominent. This question brings along with it a long string of possible results and consequences that could be detrimental to our country. When asked this question, a natural response would be based off of pure emotion instead of logic. While it seems like the nice and moral thing to do, bringing in 45,000 refugees from a war torn country is not the best plan of action right now.
Our national interest and the security of our citizens should be the basis for our policy. There are so many other things we can do to help the Syrians instead of bringing them to America. For example, the U.S. and its allies could establish safe zones in Syria which would provide protection to the people affected by this violence. Also, we could promote re-settlement of the refugees in a number of other neighboring countries. An analysis from the Center of Immigration Studies found that it would cost over $64,000 for a five year period to settle one refugee in the U.S. where as any neighboring Middle
Eastern country would cost twelve times less. However, a report by Amnesty International shows that six of the wealthiest Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates all refuse Syrian refugees due to security risks. Obviously, if those countries have concerns about their security, we should too. On top of all that, a poll from the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies showed that 13% of the refugees have a positive view of ISIS. It would be wrong for our government to endanger its citizens by allowing these refugees to settle here.
Author Leo Hohmann states in an article that ISIS has even publicly declared that they will use our refugee system as a means of placing soldiers on U.S. soil. In fact, one of the terrorists from the recent attacks in Paris on November 13th posed as an immigrant who sought refuge in France. That brings up another point which proves it is impossible to know who we are really letting into our country. The Director of the FBI, James Comey, even admitted during a House Committee on Homeland Security that the U.S. Government has no real way to conduct background checks on the Syrian refugees.
For every 5,000 innocent people we let into America, we could also be letting in one ISIS terrorist. Like I said earlier, we should not leave these people defenseless and helpless. We could easily aid them by offering them protection within their own country.
According to www.endhomelessness.org, as of 2014-2015 veteran homelessness in the U.S. is around 48,000 men and women. The $64,000 we would be spending on each Syrian refugee could easily be spent on each homeless veteran in America. The people who have ser ved this great countr y in order to protect our freedom deserve a chance to rebuild their lives before the people of Syria. The interest of America and her people comes before the interest of anyone else. The objective of our government is not to provide money and shelter to war refugees but rather provide protection to its own citizens. What ISIS is doing to the people of Syria and all of the world is atrocious and needs to be stopped. However, at the same time, the decision of how to solve this problem should be based on the interest of our nation, the safety of U.S. citizens, and what’s truly best for the Syrian refugees.