In the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris last week, the issue of Syrian refugees has hit a critical boiling point. Many are worried that an influx of immigrants leaves a country open to threats, and that it is possible for dangerous people to enter posing as refugees fleeing persecution.
As many as 25 state governors have announced that they have shut their state’s borders and will not allow any immigration for those seeking asylum. And, just as much as they have closed their borders, they have closed their minds.
How arrogant can this nation get? How self-centered and cruel can we be to push those away that need help? We claim to hate ISIS and claim to be victims, and yet we are ignoring those who are fleeing their homes because of the civil war being inspired by Islamic extremists in their own country. We claim to believe in the American dream, and yet we only believe that if you were born here (and being white wouldn’t hurt your case.) So many claim to be embodying good Christian values, yet we are ignoring the vitally significant line: “You were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Of course we cannot open ourselves up to attacks from inside our own borders. We have to be thoughtful and organized about how we bring these people in. Yet, we can’t be so lazy as to say that, because that task is hard and time consuming, we might as well not do it at all. We have a moral obligation to open our arms and take in those who need our help. It is hard work to be able to enter America legally. Why would we make it impossible if we are already taking care of our concerns?
Even more glaringly, we are in a precarious position politically. We are shouting at one another about building a giant wall to stop illegal Mexican immigration. As a country, there are so many who are furious with the immense number of people in the country illegally. Now that we have a people begging to be let in according to the rules, we’re going to pitch a fit about that too? And many of them will almost certainly try to come legally or otherwise; why allow a problem to create itself through illegal immigration when we could save ourselves the trouble and control how and who gets in?
This country was built on a foundation of exiles. Did we think that the people coming to America from Britain were coming here on vacation? More than that, though, is that, as a world superpower, we have an obligation to use our influence to make the world a safer place. To refuse refugees of Syria’s civil war would be to refuse the moral obligation that comes with being the world’s strongest voice, if we do in fact wish to be the dominant world power.
In the wake of September 11th, the world mourned with the American people. So many offered support, both physically and emotionally, and stood by us in the face of great despair. Now, we have an opportunity to lend support to those who are suffering in today’s world. And while France is one example, the people of Syria who are fleeing their own persecution are just as much an opportunity to provide support.
I have never been more ashamed of the leaders of my country than I am now that the governors of so many states are allowing fear to rule. They are allowing their morality to be put aside because it is easy to just ignore the problem. Americans have never been scared of a fight. Now isn’t the time to start.