In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, there has been an international call for aiding refugees from Syria and the surrounding area, some of whom hope to make their way to the United States.
President Obama has recently stated that he wants to accept tens of thousands of refugees in the near future, however, twenty-six state governors including Massachusetts’ Governor Charlie Baker, have issued statements saying that their states will not accept any Syrian refugees, on the premise that accepting a significant amount of refugees might be a security risk for the American people.
President Obama expressed that people who oppose admitting refugees are succumbing to hysteria and the refugees pose no immediate threat stating, “[Those who oppose] are the same folks who suggested they’re so tough that just ‘talking to Putin’ or staring down ISIL is going to solve the problems out there. But they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion.”
While President Obama makes a fair point, a serious question to ask is: Why are Syrians coming all the way to America? Why should America begin to bear the brunt of aiding refugees? Logically and logistically, it would make sense for refugees to turn to Europe or Asia for help.
America is not against humanitarian aid, but Syrians are passing through many countries that could help them, or could be given the means to help them. Traveling to a country where over half of the states will not accept them might be more complicated than anticipated when they pass through ample territory that could help them.
Perhaps the easiest solution is for the U.S. to aid other countries both financially and politically, in order to aid refugees as a simpler solution.
Additionally, President Obama seems to be overlooking the fact that at least one of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks posed as a desperate refugee seeking asylum in Europe. The generosity of the people of France was exploited, and there were painful consequences. The sad truth is that there are refugees that need serious help, but there are also Islamic jihadists that take advantage of the goodwill of those who want to help the refugees that actually need it.
As of now, we have little way to distinguish between those groups of people. There is a screening process in place, but remains ineffective, tedious and often overlooked due to the way migrants enter a country; all of this becomes a larger-scale issue if we begin accepting refugees in mass numbers. There is no easy answer to the problem of Syrian refugees coming to the United States, but for the time being, it is too large a security risk to simply accept them.