Fleeing From Refugees

By: Kara Haselton

The news of the atrocities that occurred in Paris, France on November 13th have spread across the globe. Eight different places in Paris were attacked in only 23 minutes. The first place hit was the Stade de France, where several explosions went off. Shootings occurred at the restaurants Le Carillon, Le Petit Cambodge, and a bar A La Bonne Biere. A suicide bomber blew up at another restaurant, Comptoir Voltaire. The largest attack, however, occurred at the concert venue, Bataclan, where gunmen shot and killed over 89 people. In total, 129 people have died from these horrendous events. Several hours after the Paris attacks occurred, ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group, claimed responsibility. Pope Francis called this attack “a piecemeal Third-World War with no religious or human justification for it,” according to CNN. Even the lights on the Eiffel Tower were darkened in respect for all those who were affected. Landmarks around the world were illuminated with blue, white, and red lights in support of France. Some of the places included Burj al-Khalifa in Dubai, the London Eye ferris wheel in England, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. In a way, these terrorist acts make ISIS and their presence seem more of a real threat to the rest of the world outside of Syria and the Middle East.

Seven of the terrorists that took part in these offensive acts have been killed. One of them arrived in France disguised as a Syrian refugee. Because of this, a number of countries, including the United States, are debating whether or not Syrian refugees should be allowed to take shelter in their country. Because of the fear of terrorists arriving among the refugees, 26 of the 50 state governors have said they will not accept Syrian refugees and are asking the U.S. government not to send them to their states. Pat McCrory, our North Carolina state governor, is one of those who have said ‘no’ to the Syrian refugees. President Obama gave a speech shortly after the Paris attacks and brought up the debate on whether America will, and should, continue to accept Syrian refugees. He addressed the fact that many state governors will not protect or give refuge to refugees simply because of the fear that they are terrorists, and called the governors’ behavior “shameful.” Obama elaborates that “some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution.”

While over half of the U.S. governors are rejecting the integration of refugees into their states, there are still some that want to provide the refuge needed. One such state governor who is opening his state’s doors is the governor of Delaware, Jack A. Markell. He wrote an article published by CNN entitled “Why My State Won’t Turn Refugees Away.” He brings up several different important facts about refugees and the U.S. system for refugees that supports his opinion. Markell believes “the calls for states to reject them [the refugees] not only runs counter to our values, but also our law, which gives the federal government authority to place refugees and does not provide states the right to refuse.” As long as President Obama does what he agreed to do earlier this fall, America will be receiving 10,000 Syrian refugees within the year. Markell goes on to state in his article that, “Instead of using the mourning in France to deny opportunity to thousands of innocent people, we should recall the most famous gift we received from the French — the Statue of Liberty, with the famous inscription recognizing America as a place that welcomes ‘your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’”

It is not the refugees’ fault that they are having to flee their war-torn countries and oppressive societies. ISIS, the very same people who are forcing them to leave their homes, have influenced the world to think that all refugees have the potential to be terrorists and are hazardous to the health of their countries.

Imagine if you had gone through the kind of turmoil that these Syrians have experienced, and now you are being denied any hope of freedom and restoration because your race and ethnicity is closely associated with a small group of terrorists. It is important to keep the security and well-being of the country in mind when forming opinions and regulations on the topic of Syrian refugees. But it is also important to keep in mind that these refugees are human beings who need shelter from unimaginable chaos. Should America accept and allow Syrian refugees to find restoration in this country?