Quantcast

Elite Daily

This US Veteran Perfectly Sums Up Why Denying Refugees Isn't The Answer

Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly voted in favor of the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which would make it all but impossible for Syrians to enter the US.

The screening process for refugees is already very stringent, arguably making this new legislation extremely unnecessary and harmful to people who really need assistance.

The bill still has to go through the Senate, and it's uncertain whether or not it will pass.

But, the bill already generated a fair amount of controversy and debate. For example, CNN reporter Elise Labott was suspended simply for tweeting something exhibiting empathy toward Syrian refugees.

Indeed, Syrian refugees have become an extremely contentious issue in the US, particularly in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Much of the trepidation surrounding refugees is related to fears over terrorism and, specifically, ISIS.

But, perhaps people should realize of the 68 people arrested in the US for being involved with ISIS, 81 percent of them were US citizens, and none were Syrians. So far, it also seems none of the Paris attackers were Syrians. And not one of the 1,800 Syrians admitted into the US since 2011 was arrested or removed on terrorist charges.

Some argue while they'd like to help refugees, they believe the US should concentrate on helping veterans before it assists people from other countries.

There are several problems with this line of argument. It's true about 12 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans, and it's shameful the US has failed to take care of the people who fought in its wars.

But, it's also true many of these homeless veterans fought in Afghanistan and Iraq where large populations of refugees now come from. America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq helped create refugees. And when the US soldiers who fought those wars came home, the US didn't properly stand by them. In other words, the US arguably has an obligation to help both US veterans and refugees.

And now, the US is involved in the conflict in Syria where it has conducted thousands of air strikes since August 2014.

Like it or not, the US is connected to the ongoing refugee crisis in multiple ways. It also goes against American values to ignore the plight of those in need.

If you don't want to take my word for it, listen to Phil Klay, an award-winning author and veteran who served with the US Marine Corps in Iraq. On Thursday, Klay lambasted America's politicians for the American SAFE Act through a series of impeccable tweets.

Klay made it clear he does not approve of any efforts to avoid helping Syrian refugees.


As a Marine, Klay risked his life for American ideals, and that's why he hates seeing them violated right now.


Klay explained why people shouldn't politicize the refugee crisis; the US should be setting an example for the world.


He alluded to the pilgrims who first came to this country many years ago and explained it's both America's duty and in America's interests to help refugees.


Klay ended on a very powerful point: A nation shows its true character in how it responds to crises. If America gives into fear, it can't call itself  “home of the brave.”


Indeed, no big decision should ever be a product of fear. Not helping refugees helps ISIS and stands against everything the US was founded upon.

There's also the fact France is still accepting refugees even after the Paris attacks. If France can do it, what's stopping the US?

The US can and should be better than this.

Citations: House Approves Tougher Refugee Screening, Defying Veto Threat (The New York Times), Refugees Are Incredibly Well-Vetted, As This Woman's Story Shows (ThinkProgress), 81% of Isis-linked suspects charged in US are American citizens (The Guardian), What We Know About the Paris Attackers (New York), PolitiFact Sheet: 5 questions about Syrian refugees (PolitiFact), Operation Inherent Resolve (DOD)

Subscribe to Elite Daily's official newsletter, The Edge, for more stories you don't want to miss.

John Haltiwanger

Editor

John Haltiwanger is the Senior Politics Writer at Elite Daily. He was born and raised in DC. John earned an MSc in International Relations from the Univ. Of Glasgow and a BA in History from St. Mary's College of MD. He loves life, and burritos.
John Haltiwanger is the Senior Politics Writer at Elite Daily. He was born and raised in DC. John earned an MSc in International Relations from the Univ. Of Glasgow and a BA in History from St. Mary's College of MD. He loves life, and burritos.

Why Guys Need To Go On More Man Dates

Comments