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Refugee crisis: morality vs. reality

Zaatri+refugee+camp+in+Jordan
Zaatri refugee camp in Jordan

Zaatri refugee camp in Jordan

Zaatri refugee camp in Jordan

Evan Tawzer, Editor-in-Chief

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In the aftermath of the Paris attacks that left 129 dead, Governor Bruce Rauner joined the 31 governors that have announced that they would not be allowing Syrian refugees into their state. While their dissent to the President’s plan to resettle 10,000 refugees is not entirely representative of the public opinion, they are just one example of the growing resentment to the idea of U.S. resettlement.  This is yet another polarizing issue with a solution that isn’t so black and white.

According to The Guardian, 45% of Americans want to block refugees from being granted asylum in the United States. While the governors cite the Constitution as to why a governor can deny a refugee entry, the Constitution says otherwise. According to thinkprogress.org, the Supreme Court case Hines v. Davidowitz concluded that “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.”

There is a worry about the large number of young, combat-ready men among this refugee population being admitted to the U.S. However, there is no evidence to back this up at all. The State Department says half the Syrian refugees brought to the U.S. so far have been children, the adults are about equally split between men and women, and 2.5% are over the age of 60. Only 2% are single males of combat age.

With population statistics like that, it’s difficult to defend the idea that many of them would be already radicalized. Many conservatives on the news and (what a surprise) leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump  will speak about how they see a lot of young men getting off the trains, but I’m not sure where they’re seeing this.  If only 2% are of combat age, are they hallucinating?

Well, not necessarily. While the statistics the State Department provides about refugees in the U.S. are completely true, the same is not true of those fleeing to Europe. Time magazine gives us these statistics: 62% are men, 22% are women, and 16% are children as of last year.  This accounts for all migration to Europe in the last year, but the majority come from Syria.

The left has strong faith in our vetting process, and they have reason to be. This infographic from the White House’s website explains our extremely complex vetting system implemented after 9/11. The fact of the matter is that posing as a refugee is a seriously inconvenient way for a terrorist to get into the country. Although the system isn’t foolproof, the notion that we aren’t doing enough to vet is the opposite of the truth.

This doesn’t mean that we should be completely fearless. Just because the system is inconvenient doesn’t mean no one will exploit it. One of the Paris attackers, Ahmad al-Mohammad posed as a refugee and used a fake passport. House Speaker Paul Ryan said, according to CNN, “The sad truth, though, is that there are many people who would like to take advantage of our compassion. Terrorists have made it clear that they intend to infiltrate this refugee population to reach the West and carry out other attacks.”

The President insists that the number of these radicals have been exaggerated by the media. He has said to CNN that 99.9% of Muslims around the world reject Islamic extremism. He may have been using humorous exaggeration to make his point clearer, but he is still quoted as to have said an “overwhelming majority” disapprove of these extremists. This is not historically accurate and isn’t even by today’s standards. While the majority of worldwide Muslims aren’t ready to strap bombs to their chest and scream “Allahu Akbar”, there is a surprising number that hold the same extremist values. The Pew Research Center provides a shocking statistic that 88% of Muslims in Egypt and 62% in Pakistan believe that those who abandon the Islamic faith should be put to death. This statistic was from a 2013 survey entitled The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society,” which features many similarly unpleasant statistics about Muslim values. Another of these concerns Muslim attitude towards sharia law. Pew says “Overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law (sharia) to be the official law of the land.” It is worth providing a reminder what life under sharia law looks like.

One of the biggest problems European countries have with the refugee population they’ve admitted is their unwillingness to integrate into society. Even Germany, a country that has been mindlessly accepting vast amounts of refugees in the name of humanitarianism are experiencing Syrian resentment for their values and culture. BloombergBusiness reports several examples of individuals who are unhappy and resistant their new country. A “refugee” who would only go by their first name, Mariam, expresses resentment towards Germany: “I don’t want roots here, I don’t want to learn German or to integrate,” she said in Arabic, as she endured the rain on an October morning, asking not to be identified by her full name after escaping the violence at home. “I won’t need to, anyway, because I’m here only until the war in Syria is over.” Chancellor Angela Merkel has high hopes for the new refugee population, claiming they will replenish the shrinking work force of the country, but evidence has shown that there are more Mariams amongst the refugees than Merkel would like to see. Syrians interviewed at a Berlin Refugee Center held similar beliefs that Germany was just a “pit-stop” rather than a new beginning. The reason why this is so depressing is because according to a Gallup poll, Europe is the most desired location for Syrian refugees, the U.S. being the least at only 6% saying they want to immigrate.

Merkel’s refugee work force isn’t exactly working either, at least here. The United States Senate has said that around 90% of refugees in the U.S. rely on food stamps and almost 70% receive cash welfare. The JewishJournal writes, “Remember that at the same time as we are discussing housing 10,000-20,000 Syrian refugees, at least 49,933 veterans are homeless on any given night.”

It’s a commonplace stereotype that Americans are less tolerant than Europeans. The truth is that when it comes to societal integration, we are much more laissez-faire. According to WITN, Italy and Austria are examples of countries where it is required to learn the language after five years of residency. Britain also requires its prospective citizens to pass an English competency test. Whenever the argument to require immigrants to learn English in the U.S. is brought up, it is shut down as racist or politically incorrect by the opposition. Why doesn’t this same opposition condemn these European policies?

Perhaps a more important question is: What’s not to like about western culture? For a people escaping a tyrannical regime, one would guess that our way of life would be a breath of fresh air. It is apparent from the responses of the refugees in Berlin and the statistics provided by the Pew Research Center that they want to live in a society where faith is favored, not free.

People like Mariam do not deserve to live in Germany. That is a controversial statement coming from an American, but not for British government officials who told the AP their language tests are to “weed out those who don’t contribute to British life.” Over in Britain, language requirements are common sense, Here, they are fascist. A language requirement might be just what we need if we are to be accepting 10,000 refugees and don’t want to fall into the same trap as Germany. It may be an old, tiresome, redneck argument, but if you don’t want to live here, then you shouldn’t be here.

Remember we are also not a heartless people that should stand idly by when another group is clearly suffering. The rhetoric used in these types of debates often mislead people by making them think that there is only one solution. There are many more efficient, long-term solutions to this complex issue. We can be funding the refugee camps already established in the middle-eastern region (hopefully propping up some of our own so that religious minorities don’t have to fear the refugee camps under the exclusionary Muslim leaders). We can also establish no-fly zones over areas where these camps are present to better protect the refugees. I don’t think that we should block refugees from entering the U.S., but providing more support overseas can help reduce the amount of overall refugees coming here that don’t actually want to be Americans. Our solution to this refugee crisis has to be one that doesn’t displace a large amount of refugees from their own culture or drain government money.

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Refugee crisis: morality vs. reality