Today, if America decided to rewrite The Star Spangled Banner, keeping “home of the brave” might be a tough sell. In recent weeks, at least 31 states, including Massachusetts, have succumb to cowardice and declared that they will not accept Syrian refugees. Some governors oppose taking in any Syrian refugees, while others claim they are withholding involvement until the screening process meets their standards. The three leading Republican candidates for president are among their ranks, and while the final say belongs to the federal government, the states could make immigration far more difficult to implement.
What does all of this mean? It means 31 states would willingly send thousands of refugees into the arms of death or ISIS, many of them children, as opposed to following Germany’s lead, where the number of immigrants may reach up to 1.5 million in 2015. Be glad that Germany and other accepting nations have not shown the same xenophobia as numerous American governors, or the 11 million Syrian immigrants already struggling to survive would not stand a chance.
The primary argument for denying Syrian refugees shelter fails in its most basic integrities. Despite being the subject of constant censuring, the current vetting process has support from those who know the system best. Officials affiliated with the program call it the “most intensive vetting process of any group that arrives in the US.” The process entails collaboration from multiple security agencies and an interview, conducted abroad, by an officer from the Department of Homeland Security. Only then does the opportunity for American resettlement become a possibility for a potential immigrant. Any more vigorous and time-consuming than the current model, and the world will likely remember any American assistance as a case of too little, too late.
Already the situation is dire; the humanitarian appeal put forth by the United Nations is just 40% funded. Our allies in the Middle East, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon face an overwhelming demand which their current infrastructure cannot maintain. Basic medical care and water are in short supply. A major resettlement and aid agreement would mitigate these circumstances, but the implications of not doing so are disastrous. If left unaddressed, the strain and shortage of resources will feed instability in the region, the very type of instability that ISIS and similar terrorist organizations feed off of most.
(Alex Doe ’16, News Editor)