Monday, November 16, 2015

Whither the Refugees?

The recent deadly terrorist attacks in Paris have raised new questions about the wisdom of welcoming hundreds of thousands of Syrians into the United States.  At issue: whether some those refugees might have terrorist ties and further, whether their presence in our country would put American citizens at risk.

President Obama says it would be unAmerican to refuse entry to the refugees, especially since many of them are victims of terrorism themselves, and that it will be possible to guarantee both their safety and our own.  But Friday's attack, and the reported involvement of at least one terrorist who entered France as a refugee, makes one wonder:  Are "guarantees" against terrorism even possible?

Several U.S. governors have answered that question.  At the time of this writing, ten governors have announced and/or notified the Obama administration that the safety of their own citizens is more important than that of the refugees, particularly since those refugees might include terrorists.  

And why aren't Syria's neighbors doing more for the refugees? It would make sense, wouldn't it?  In countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the refugees would be closer to home, both culturally and geographically, than here in the United States. But at last report, those countries have refused to admit a single refugee, citing a fear of terrorism.

I don't know what the answer is.  On the one hand, welcoming the refugees seems like the right, even the American thing to do.  On the other, why put ourselves at risk to do something not even Syria's neighbors will do?  Why invite more trouble?

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