That is all well and good, however, a balance must be struck between opening our doors and upholding the various counter-terrorism measures that have been put in place since 9/11 for the protection of this country. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Miriam Jordan outlines the current state of US plans to include the following: The stated goal of the US is to assist with the resettlement of “thousands of Syrians displaced by their country’s civil war”.
Those plans could hinge on the refugees receiving mass exemptions from laws aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the country. A U.S. official stated that some of the 30,000 especially vulnerable Syrians the United Nations hopes to resettle by the end of 2014 will be referred to the U.S. for resettlement.
Since the start of the war in 2011, more than two million Syrians have fled their country, creating the largest, most complex refugee crisis since Rwanda. About 20 countries around the world, mostly in Europe, have agreed to take 18,000 Syrians, this, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which is the agency tasked with finding homes for the referrals.
For our part, the United States has not yet established how many refugees it will commit to resettle, but at a Senate hearing Tuesday, State Department Assistant Secretary Anne Richard said, “We expect to accept referrals for several thousand Syrian refugees in 2014.”
There are two competing, oppositional views on this matter. On the one hand, key proponents of refugee resettlement, represented by politicians like Sen. Dic Durbin (D., Ill.), say that the “overly broad” provisions would prevent a Syrian who gave a cigarette or a sandwich to a Free Syrian Army soldier from coming to the U.S. as a refugee, and there may well be some truth to that.
On the other hand, our post-9/11 security policies, especially those that relate to immigration are in place for a very good reason, and wholesale ignoring those laws by giving a blanket “pass” for thousands of refugees for an area with a high concentration of radical Islamists seems like an open invitation for disaster.
One would imagine that where the security of the United States is concerned, the proper course of action would be to err on the side of caution, which, in this case, would mean pursuing the course of action that is least likely to open the US to further terror attacks on our own soil.
Yes, the United States should do all it can to aid those displaced by the ravages of war, and in fact, we do just that. The fact is that the United States leads the world in refugee resettlement. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the U.S. received 70,000 refugees from 65 countries, including more than 19,000 from Iraq. In that year, more than 1,340 Syrians already in the U.S. applied for asylum.
No one is suggesting that we stray from this course, however, it would be the worst form of folly to issue blanket exemptions to our own sensible security protocols and endanger the whole of the nation in a misguided bid to render assistance. When assistance is given, it must be given sensibly and responsibly.