Friday, November 20, 2015

Growing Opposition to Syrian Refugees

In a statement given by Mayor David A. Bowers, the Democratic mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, he links Japanese internment during WWII to refusing to assist in the relocation of Syrian refugees; "I'm reminded that President Franklin D, Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then."  As ludicrous as this comparison is, it is, to an extent, true.  Just like the "real and serious" threat of the Japanese Americans being completely false and a product of wartime paranoia, the Syrian refugee threat is the same.  Although the threat of terrorists entering the US as a refugee is not nonexistent, Republicans seem to be taking an extreme stand.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points at the camera.

Putting Mayor Bowers' flawed history aside, there has been a significant increase in anti-Islam rhetoric in GOP.  Trump's suggestion of closing down mosques, increasing surveillance of Muslims, "certainly" and "absolutely" creating a database of Muslims in the US, and sending immigrants back, has caused a lot of controversy; "I'm putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration... If I win, they're going back."  Although Trump's being the most extreme, other Republican presidential candidates are also solidifying their stance on Syrian refugees.  Stating that Obama's "nothing short of lunacy,"  Ted Cruz suggested that the US should accept Christian refugees from Syria but not Muslim.  Ben Carson compared terrorist Syrian refugees to "rabid dogs" in your neighborhood.   Finally, Marco Rubio supports Trump in closing down mosques on the grounds that "any place where radicals are being inspired" should be closed down.  Although Jeb Bush supports Ted Cruz's stance on only accepting Christian refugees, he strongly disagrees with the closing of mosques stating that "that's just wrong."  

During times of crisis, the balance between freedom and national security is questioned.  What is your opinion on the Syrian refugee issue?  Are the Republicans over reacting to a nonexistent threat or are they taking necessary precautions?  At what point should some freedoms be denied for "national security?"



Juliana Stahr said...

Firstly, I believe Trump's ideology to be COMPLETELY absurd. We need to understand that Isis is in control of 35% of Syrian territory according to a source listed below. The reaction the U.S. is giving is exactly what ISIS wants. I, as well as others, have referred to ISIS as a gang who simply recruits members via the internet and other sources and their goal is to instill fear in western countries. If we act in fear, show anger, or oppose sending in Syrian Refugees, the U.S. is doing exactly what ISIS wants - to make the U.S. look weak. We have close family friends who live in D.C. and the husband of this family is Syrian. He came to the United States when he was around the age of twenty looking for a better life in the United States. Today, he shares with my family how the terror in Paris has put a negative image on Syrians. The truth of the matter is that not ALL Syrians are affiliated with ISIS. We need to understand that ISIS is similar to a KKK. The group is growing in size if the U.S. makes it. We can simply take the mass shootings as ways to improve our Intelligence, but we should not close mosques. This is like saying that we should look down upon all white southerners because they could have been affiliated with the KKK, which is simply not the case! We are simply stereotyping if we look down upon Syrians and Middle Easterners for that matter! We as a country must realize that this group is a radical group. Muslims should never be ashamed of their religion, but rather embrace and be proud of their religion. We should not oppose Syrian Refugees because they are want to escape this very group that is hurting many Western nations. Let us prove to these radical groups that we are in fact a nation of hope and love. We must support these Syrians who wish to escape these oppressive, extremist groups. The Republicans are, in my opinion, proving to ISIS that we are indeed the evil nation that they claim we are - a nation who stereotypes and discriminates. I believe that we should deny freedoms once a suspicion becomes evident. There are many people out there in the world that want a safe, supportive home, so let's prove to the refugees that we can indeed be that home. "They have guns, but we have flowers."


Jonathan Liu said...

I think their plans aren't going to be viable. I'm not 100% sure on this, but from what I've read ISIS attracts and influences most of its new members through other people, or through the internet. They specifically target people that they think might be swayed by their radical goals, and go from there. A lot of this happens over social media. I'm not even sure that mosques act as any sort of ISIS "stronghold," I think at least almost all mosques are simply Muslim. As a result, I think that their plans of denying refugees and closing down mosques will have little to no effect, as ISIS will have no problem continuing to influence people anyway. Besides, it's not like ISIS has a big influence over U.S. citizens today anyway, so I can't see a reason to close mosques to prevent places where "radicals are being inspired."

Elliot Quan said...

It's a little disheartening to find that we've just gone full circle again. Unfortunately, it seems that the only way to maintain popularity with the conservative voter base is to take the extremist approach to an extremist problem. There really is no room for such drastic actions in the 21st century; I think we've learned that from past mistakes. As ridiculous as Trump sounds, people are nonetheless applauding him on his stance.

Understandably, there is a substantial social issue in the public response to allowing refugees in. There is a rational fear of the supposedly-thorough vetting process--how can we adequately background check those who have little to no documentation? I think this is the roadblock for most people who take a stance against refugees.

People fear that which they do not understand, and the average-Joe American probably doesn't understand what some of the refugees have gone through. Some immigrants probably look at the extensive and rough process they went through to enter America, while pointing fingers at refugees who seemingly got a free pass in (again, speculation, since we don't actually know how the vetting process even works). Most people also subscribe to cost/benefit thinking: "Will my family be safe if these refugees are allowed to stay in our neighborhood?" The rational mind says yes, but events like Paris cast a lingering doubt on our minds--most people don't favor taking unnecessary risks for a dubious benefit.

I'd like to see the government try and assuage the risks. People are scared, some with legitimate reason, and these fears need to be addressed. Maybe then we can get some sort of civil dialogue on the issue that doesn't involve media hysteria and Muslim databases, or perhaps I'm being too idealistic.