You know, I can’t say whether or not we should take in Syrian refugees. I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad idea. I only know four things, and here they are:
- We don’t learn anything from history, apparently. It took the US until 1944 to formally start working to assist Jewish refugees attempting to flee Europe. Prior to that, we were actively turning them away, and only accepted as many as was allowed by previous immigration quotas. Because it’s easy to ignore a problem that’s not on our doorstep. Really worked out well, too, didn’t it?
- Yes, admitting refugees, particularly if they don’t have documentation, can pose a security risk. You know what else poses a security risk? Legally entering the country on a plain old passport or visa. People forget, the 9/11 terrorists all entered the country completely legally. Sure, we have to accept that refugees without documentation pose logistical problems for the short and long term, but those are solvable problems. By denying them entry simply out of fear that one of them may be a terrorist, just means that we’ve given in to our fear. It’s sad, and it’s lazy.
- Xenophobia is not a functional foreign policy model, nor is it a mindset to be proud of as seems to be the popular tone of some conservative Facebook posts lately. Sometimes the cost of freedom is accepting the risks that come with trying to be decent fucking human beings to each other, regardless of where we come from. Refugees are such for a reason. They have fled their homes, their belongings, family, and friends because it was the only viable way to stay safe. If you can’t sympathize with someone who sees an uncertain, homeless path as the best chance for their future in the face of war, rape, and death, something is emotionally disconnected in you. We can either set the bar for how to Do It Right, or be the indignant assholes and feed the image that we’re already being portrayed as in the Middle East.
- Immigration is a touchy subject in this country already, but to use arguments based on our problems with illegal immigration from our southern borders to defend disallowing Syrian refugees asylum – at least on a temporary basis – shows a gross lack of understanding of the distinction between the two issues which are very different in virtually every meaningful way imaginable.
I don’t know where that leaves us. I don’t know what a solution looks like for us right now. And it’s possible maybe the right thing really is to not let them into the US. I do know Kansas, or probably any state, wouldn’t be flooded with an unsupportable wave of Syrian refugees should we put together a policy to help. I know what Jesus would probably say about it though. And I’m pretty sure he’d say: “Americans, don’t be a dick, help those in need.”