A very hot debate has been going on regarding Syrian refugees throughout the United States. After the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13th, many government officials are saying Syrian refugees should not be allowed into the country. President of the United States, Barack Obama, has his own thoughts on the matter, which might not align with that of some future presidential nominees and state Governors. California and Bay Area officials want to keep allowing Syrian refugees into the state, but want to do so with a balance of caution and empathy for individuals in need.
White House views on refugees
The White House pledged to admit about 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country over the fiscal year. More than half of the nation’s Governors are against this choice, and want a freeze in their state. Governor Jerry Brown of California is one of the only people not backing this choice. He hopes to work closely with Barack Obama to ensure the safety of Syrian refugees wishing to enter California. Shutting the door for those in need should not be an option. Ultimately, the authority over admitting refugees lies in the hands of the federal government and not the states. However, states can make the overall acceptance process much more difficult.
Why many don’t want to let Syrian refugees in
The terrorist attacks in Paris were believed to be the work of terror group ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). It was extremely easy for members of the terror group to make their way over the France border and allow an attack to happen. If the United States plans to let in over 10,000 Syrian refugees, who is to say some of them aren’t part of the terror group as well? Many Governors believe that refusing refugees means putting the security of the American people first.
California officials respond back
California state officials believe that letting in refugees can be done in a way that allows a careful examination of each person who enters the border. Syrians are now the world’s largest refugee population, while many struggle to find a safe place throughout Europe. The United States can be another protected home for these individuals, especially with over 250,000 deaths since violence broke out in 2011. Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California has stated that “Now is a time for us, as Americans, as Oaklanders, to turn toward each other — not on each other. We should not let fear and danger lull us into accepting the false choice between safety and compassion.” It is all about not losing our humanity and making judgements on people based on those who are guilty. These Syrian refugees are seeking safety for themselves and their families.
There will be more information to follow, in regards to how each state chooses to handle the Syrian refugee debate. It seems as though California politicians want to lend a helping hand, without being overly cautious of individuals. Of course it is important to keep the terror threat in the United States at a minimal level, but California doesn’t believe that letting more Syrian refugees into the country will increase the chances of a terrorist attack.