Syrian refugees should be allowed entrance into the US

By Vivian Chu | Web Editor

In light of the warfare occurring in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, many Syrian refugees are fleeing to European countries such as Germany to escape the desolation in their home country, with many nearby countries closing their borders to refugees. However, countries that have the available resources should these refugees resettle and restart their lives. But even before the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Lebanon, and many other locations, the United States was divided over the refugee crisis. Those in opposition to the entrance of Syrian refugees into the US often cite these widespread instances of terrorism, stating that the population of refugees would compromise national security. However, denying Syrian refugees a place in the US would be infinitely more detrimental than supporting their resettlement in this country. By giving into stereotype and groundless assumptions about Syrians regarding Islam and connections to terrorist groups, we bar ourselves from working towards logical solutions.

Contrary to protests that they will be harmful to the US economy, Syrian refugees may bring more financial benefit than harm to American welfare costs and resources. According to a study conducted by Chmura Economics & Analytics, “at the local level, refugees provide increased demand for goods and services through their new purchasing power and can be particularly revitalizing in communities that otherwise have a declining population.” The entrance of more refugees into the US marks improvement for the economy, as they are presented with more opportunity for stable employment and thus increase consumer spending.

In consideration of the recent Paris attacks, some governors propose only admitting Christian Syrian refugees, barring the majority of Syrians who are Muslim from entering the US, for the sake of national security. They cite the fact that a Syrian passport was found near the body of an attacker; however, there is no real evidence that any of the attackers were Syrian, as it was later revealed that the passport was fake. Furthermore, governors against entrance of refugees by law cannot selectively refuse admittance of refugees into their states. According to the Tenth Amendment, states only have jurisdiction over laws not explicitly stated in the Constitution, meaning that states have no say in issues of foreign policy. Just as economic immigrants and refugees are allowed entrance into the US, Syrian refugees should be permitted this same access.

Additionally, labeling Syrian refugees as potential terrorists based solely on religion is discriminatory and promotes uninformed ideas about ISIS and Islam itself. The promotion of Islamophobia, as with any generalizations about ethnicity or religion, breeds chaos and paranoia, instead of understanding and acceptance; it delays movement towards effective solutions. This pattern appears repeatedly throughout history, from McCarthyism to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. There was a shockingly large number of anti-Muslim hate crimes, ranging from destruction of property to physical confrontation due to unfounded fears after 9/11. In spite of the storm of adversity that rose up against Muslims due to 9/11, the Centre for Research on Globalization reports that less than 2 percent of terrorist attacks were committed by Muslims while 74 percent were committed by homegrown extremists, such as Neo-Nazis, in the US in the last five years. Yet many people still fixate on the false idea that people who hold Islamic beliefs are more likely to be terrorists.

Above all else, this situation is a human problem rather than one solely about religion or ethnicity. Within this year, over seven million refugees have risked their lives to leave their country, with more than 32 thousand deaths so far. Many of them are children who are at risk of illness and malnutrition and have been forced to abandon their educations. Winter is approaching and refugees still lack basic resources, such as food, water and clothing. It is our duty as people to help innocent civilians who are fleeing war, traveling thousands of miles in order to secure a better future for their children.