After the devastating bombings in Paris, 19 U.S. governors, including Lindsey Graham (mentioned in the previous post), have voiced strong opinions against allowing immigrants in to the United States. All of the governors are part of the Republican Party. One additional democratic governor from New Hampshire also is against accepting refugees. Currently, the Justice Department is investigating the legality of the states’ refusals to accept Syrian refugees. What they have concluded so far is that technically, it is legal for these states in interfere with the organizations who are helping the refugees get in to the country (NGOs) to a certain extent. The investigation is still ongoing.
Several Republican candidates have also spoken out against the idea of having Syrian refugees, specifically Muslims entering the United States. Senator Ted Cruz calls the idea “lunacy”. He goes on to say, "Christians who are being targeted, for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them.” Former Governor Jeb Bush offered similar sentiments, stating, “We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered." Many other Republicans (Kasich, Paul, Carson, the list goes on…) also have voiced their opinions against permitting victims fleeing ISIS from entering the U.S.. Christians most certainly are targeted by ISIS; both Bush and Cruz are absolutely correct in that regard. However, ISIS, even though it is an “Islamic” (and that does not mean that the organization represents the true values of Islam in any way) persecutes against many Muslims as well. ISIS is a Sunni extremist group, and if you are a Muslim who does not agree with their ideology, especially if you are a Shiite Muslim, you are automatically a target—and being a target of ISIS can often be a death sentence.
Up until now, the United States has taken in ~1,900 Syrian refugees over the past four years, but has pledged to take in up to 10,000 during the next fiscal year. In comparison, Germany has accepted 40,000 in August alone (lately, they have been taking much fewer). During the past 4 years, the United Kingdom has accepted almost 5,000 refugees, but the government recently enacted a plan to allow 20,000 spread out over the next 5 years.
One fear (among many) that some harbored against refugees fleeing from the violence in Syria was the possibility that some are bound to be ISIS-affiliated and are using their refugee status to gain access into a country in order to coordinate and carry out a terrorist attack. Now, after the attack in Paris claimed by ISIS along with the pair of suicide bombings in Beirut—also claimed by ISIS—this fear, for many, has become very real. There was even a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the terrorists. Whether or not this is of any significance remains to be seen, as it is not unheard of in places like Turkey for non-Syrians to purchase fake Syrian passports on the black market in order to get preferential treatment in the refugee/asylum process in Europe. Even so, one of the attackers was indeed able to enter France under refugee status. That is a scary thought.
What do you think about the idea of states refusing to accept refugees? Should that decision be up to them or up to the federal government? Obama and most democrats support the idea of allowing Syrian refugees to enter the country. What about the comments by G.O.P. presidential candidates? Would you consider them racist? A manifestation of Islamophobia into national politics? Justified given the circumstances? Other comments?
Unfortunately, this is a sad story any way you spin it.