By: Sathiyan Sivakumaran
After the tragic events in Paris, with 130 people dying in multiple organized shootings throughout the city, strong reactions were bound to occur. While many expressed sorrow and unity in response to the attacks by the Islamic State, there were some who tied the events into political agendas. There were people saying the attack wouldn’t have been as bad had France not have strict policies against concealed carry. Others said that Europe was too lax on immigration. However, no political policies were brought under more scrutiny as a result of the attacks than the policies regarding Syrian refugee immigration.
As Syrian refugees attempt to escape the terrors of their country and surrounding areas, America has been split as the people and politicians find the issue extremely polarizing. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has suggested implementing a database for all Muslim Americans, not just refugees, to be registered into in order to keep track of them. Other candidates have discussed giving priority to Christian refugees, doing religious screening upon immigration. On the flipside, President Obama has called upon the U.S. to play an active role in accepting Syrian refugees with the normal Department of Homeland Security screening process. In my eyes, turning our back on the refugees only fuels the “Us vs. Them” ideology that the Islamic State feasts on. By rejecting refugees, we would potentially be motivating more people to partake in extremism. Accepting refugees and domestic safety are not mutually exclusive in the eyes of those who favor accepting the refugees; we can keep our people safe from terrible attacks like those in Paris, while doing our duty to those in need.
What has caused the strong feelings against the acceptance of Syrian refugees? Some state that we want to protect the ones we love. Others say that we have our own problems. However, the main reason is undoubtedly fear. We are scared that because we don’t track refugees after they’ve been relocated in the U.S., we can be subject to attacks by potential Islamic State supporters. We are scared that they can sneak past the Department of Homeland Security and wreak havoc as they have on the other side of the world. However, this is not the time to act in fear. As Americans, we are doing much better than the people of many other countries. We have problems, but if we wait on solving all of our own problems before helping those in need, we’ll never be able to help those in need. President Obama discussed how the Paris attacks were a crime against all of humanity. Fear cannot drive us to turn our back on people fleeing the terrorists that we are trying to defeat. If we stand as one nation, defying ISIS by accepting the refugees fleeing the chaos in the Middle East, we can protect the lives of many innocent people.