Let’s live up to America’s promise and not turn our back on refugees

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Let’s live up to America’s promise and not turn our back on refugees

Illustration.

Illustration.

Photo by: Bobby Brown

Illustration.

Photo by: Bobby Brown

Photo by: Bobby Brown

Illustration.

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The recent terrorist attacks in Paris are worsening the rather complicated plight of the Syrian refugees who are fleeing the civil war raging in their home countries and seeking refuge in foreign countries.

As of October 2015, 4,183,535 that have fled Syria due to the war and atrocities.

Over the course of five years — that’s how long this crisis has been going on — these refugees have endured torture and suffering that defies description. More than 12,000 children have been killed because of the violence.

Fleeing the country is their only way out of the violence; even the Syrian government is accused of killing its own people. The ISIS situation makes these refugees suspect; how could anyone be sure they too are not so-called “terrorists”.

These refugees have fled from all that is familiar, leaving behind more than property. What they seek is safety and normalcy to live and raise their families. Yet, as they arrive in new countries, traveling through treacherous bodies of water and many of them often dying, the refugees are met, in some cases, with nothing but hatred and fear.

People have voiced that they feel unsafe because they don’t know who, among the refugees, could be a so-called terrorist or be a threat to their own way of life.

The U.S. is no better in this situation.

Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the U.S. since 2011, but the Obama administration announced in September that 10,000 Syrians will be allowed entry next year.

Twenty seven American states have expressed their reluctance and have asked the president to refrain from taking in any refugees.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Monday that it’s the responsibility of government to keep its people safe. In other words, bringing in Syrian refugees is jeopardizing the lives of Americans,

Abbot said, “Texans will be kept safe from those refugees.”

But Abbot is fear mongering and playing to people’s insecurities, at the same time, justifying discrimination against these refugees who need the world’s help.

This present situation calls to mind America’s treatment of people with Japanese ancestry during World War II. Our politicians are scaring our people into believing everyone who comes here from Syria is a threat.

The mass hysteria is bordering on racism and ignorance.

As a country, we have a tendency to be blind to others’ problems in the world and only think of ourselves. If it doesn’t affect us or doesn’t have anything to do with our daily lives, we simply don’t care.

We only care when the situation gets too big to ignore — the situation in Syria is catastrophic. We shouldn’t turn our backs on innocent people whether they are far or near.

We have to open our eyes to recognize others’ agony and open our hearts to help. America has long promised that this land would be welcoming to those who flee persecution in foreign lands.

There is no greater opportunity to live up to that ideal.

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