The Lack of Moral Leadership from the United States on the Refugee Crisis

One of the things that makes our country great is that we claim to accept all. We are a nation of immigrants from the first ships in the 1600s, all the way until today. Sadly we are further diminishing in the world’s eyes right when we should lead the world in doing what is right.  In the US, our candidates are treating refugee support as something new. It is not. So to claim it is a new cost, or a new threat or payment has to come from somewhere is just not fact based. To claim that if even ONE refugee is a radical, we cannot help others, is just fear mongering, disingenuous, and short-sighted. We have a budget for refugees. Any candidate that has claimed these issues as new, when we have been bringing in refugees in large numbers from the middle east since 9/11 is either a liar or frighteningly misinformed. Neither characteristic is one I care to have in my future president.   A few pesky, annoying things called facts:

  1. Over 750,000 refugees have come in the United States since 9/11 – an average of over 50,000 a year.
  2. A large majority of these are already likely Muslim – there is a quota of slightly over 30,000 a year from the “Near East/South Asia which includes the Persian Gulf area including Syria and Iraq, for example.
  3. Of course refugees are going to include areas that are hard to validate – always have because refugees are by nature coming from areas of war and strife. To treat this as a new issue is just false.
  4. We already have been accepting Refugees from Syria – over 2000 in the last few years as part of this. If they really were using this to attack us with refugees that are all fighting age men, why hasn’t anything happened yet? Simple answer – those items are false.
  5. Every year as part of our National budget the White House presents the allocation of refugees and congress approves as part of the Annual Budgets. So to say there is no plan is incorrect. This includes where they would go. We do over 50,000 a year. This isn’t some people suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
  6. Of those 750,000 refugees, many already Muslim, there have been THREE people convicted of terrorism, and less than 20 arrested, expelled, etc, from the US (with no reason given). That’s IT. With all this concern, wouldn’t you think with 30,000+ a year coming from that war-torn area already, that we would have had more over the last 14 years? We should worry more about our the radicalization going on in our own prisons (a bad mix of Gang ties and Radical Islam) than refugees who want a better life for their families.
  7. There are 4.6 MILLION Syrian refugees. We’ve taken 2,000. And are offering 10,000 more this year. I find that awful and I cannot imagine how little we wish to do. When people here say this should be a Muslim problem, and say they should take care of their own, the Number 1 supporter of Syrian Refugees with over a MILLION and almost 25% of their own population now is….Lebanon. And for a bit of math – our 10,000 – that is slightly over 0.2% of the current refugee population we are proposing for this year. Not exactly a banner reaction from the world champion of freedom.
  8. If radical Muslims terrorists wanted to get in the US (and yes, I know they do), Refugee Status is the LAST way they would do it – it takes 1-2 years ALREADY via our “lax” process to get them in here. Better to fly in with visas/passports like the 9/11 attackers did and then stay here, or sneak over the Canadian or Mexican border, or to come in through Asylum requests. Coming in as a Refugee is the MOST secure way we have people coming in and the HARDEST for people who mean to do us harm. First they must have official refugee status from the UN, and then once referred to the United States, they go through a whole other interview. Don’t have a full stats on this because I don’t know the UN part, but over 50% of those that apply for US resettlement are denied.

So to me, yes I support the US taking in 10,000 of 4.6 MILLION refugees. I support taking more. I support welcoming people who have lived through hell and showing them our generous and kind AMERICAN way that is better than what they have lived through and WHY I think this is the Greatest Country on EARTH, and WHY when I hear we don’t have money, it rings false when we are still the richest nation on earth. I find this a moral obligation. I shake my head, I know we have the money, we are just unwilling to change anything. I have seen firsthand the awful conditions some of these people live in and how they are treated by their “own countries” and “own religion” and my heart breaks for them. So when I hear we don’t have money or we voice what we think poverty is, I wish people would understand the worst over here is NOTHING to what is over there. I hope that in the end we will realize it is our compassion, not our might or money that make us great.

Immigration and supporting the weak and hungry is what makes our nation great. Period. My father was a refugee, and I am forever grateful to the country (Denmark) that took him in as Russia invaded his country of Finland. My father later immigrated to the US, during the red scare of the 50s. Because of logic like we are using now with Muslims, my father couldn’t get a good job for a while, and then once he got in the Air Force, he couldn’t get a security clearance. Why? – he might be a communist. Never mind his father fought against the Russian invasion and my father was a refugee. Never mind both he and his father fought against Russia in WWII. Never mind the home my father was born in (Karelia) is now in Russia because of the Soviet invasion during WWII. He lost his homeland and could not return to for many years. In our American suspicion, we branded this man a socialist and possible communist. This man who could ultimately speak seven languages had to be a helicopter mechanic. This is how we treat our refugees and immigrants in this country throughout history, the people that have always been our greatest strength are also who we sadly bear some of our greatest shame. If you have Japanese or Italian or Irish or Chinese blood (or many others) many of the same things happening today, happened to your ancestors when they came here, whether you call them immigrants, refugees, or asylum seekers. And so look back on what your forefathers had to endure and then decide if that is what we should do now. And if you vote yes, to block those refugees, I imagine your ancestors are hanging their head in shame.

For me, the worst part of this is deciding who to vote for president now. The complete and utter wasteland of compassion from the Republican candidates is something we all should be ashamed of, not a single one of them is fit to be president with their current policy against refugees. The political calculation of Hillary Clinton and her hypocritical and disingenuous work (see: Private email server, sexual assault comments vs her actions against those that made claims against President Bill Clinton, etc. ad nauseum) is no better. What is left? A socialist and a former governor with zero chance of electability,  but at least they appear to have some honor and truth in them. Normally I would say select the lesser of evils, but right now, I’m not sure who or what that is.

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Erik K.

Owner, Curator, Writer of this blog.

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