United States Has A Moral Obligation To Aid Syrian Refugees


While the U.S. predicts that they will accept 10,000 refugees in 2016, those numbers must be increased in order to save Syrian lives.

Christian Carr-Locke


While the U.S. predicts that they will accept 10,000 refugees in 2016, those numbers must be increased in order to save Syrian lives.
While the U.S. predicts that they will accept 10,000 refugees in 2016, those numbers must be increased in order to save Syrian lives.

In March of 2011, Syrians took to the streets of Deraa to protest the arrests and reported torture of 15 schoolchildren who drew antigovernment graffiti on a wall. Shortly thereafter, Syria’s government forces shot and killed four civilians at one of the protests and later killed a mourner at the funeral of one of the aforementioned victims. Four years later, Syria is the landmark of an extremely chaotic civil war with international intervention on both sides. The civil war is a three way battle as government opposition and President Assad’s army are faced with the powerful emergence of the Islamic State. In the middle of it all, Syrian civilians have had to relocate their families in order to avoid the consequences of air strikes and local raids. Now, the refugee crisis is just as much of a problem as the war itself, as countries determine their refugee entry policies.

As one of the most powerful nations, The U.S. has a moral obligation to allow Syrian Refugees arrival to the country. The U.S., a country that values personal freedom and democracy so highly, recognizes that President Assad has denied his people some of the basic civil liberties that so many Americans take for granted, as was seen with the 2011 protests, and must help refugees whose lives are at stake. President Barack Obama said that the United States will allow 10,000 Syrian refugees entry in 2016. Those numbers are insufficient as many European nations are now beginning to question whether or not they want to allow entry to refugees after the events of the Paris terrorist attacks.

However, many politicians doubt the reassuring claims of numerous political advisors like Ben Rhodes—White House Deputy National Security Adviser—regarding the possibility of terrorists entering the country as falsely documented refugees. Leaders from middle eastern countries as well as over 30 governors from U.S. states declared that they will not accept Syrian refugees because they believe there is a lack of information on so many refugees as well as an inability to background check such a large number of individuals.

While states actually have no legal right in determining where refugees will relocate within the country, numerous governors have made valid points concerning terrorists who enter countries as refugees. In a recent letter to Obama, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said “American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger,” referring to the Paris attacks. Likewise, The Boston Globe recently reported Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker as having stated “[his] view on this is the safety and security of the people of the Commonwealth of Mass.,” as he wants to eliminate any potential terrorist threat. Abbott and Baker, along with many other governors, want to act in the best interest for their states.

In response to these types of concerns, Rhodes recently explained on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the U.S. gov. has “very extensive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who have come to the United States.” Rhodes also explained that “there is a very careful vetting process that includes our intelligence community, our National Counter Terrorism Center, [and] the Department of Homeland Security.”

If screening procedures can be advanced, then it is absolutely necessary that politicians start looking at the refugee crisis from the perspective of innocent Syrian civilians and recognize that these refugees have no other viable means through which they can protect their families. By securely opening our doors to refugees, we eliminate the likelihood of Syrian deaths and offer them a chance to experience the same rights and liberties we Americans value so greatly.

Furthermore, while the U.S. has an obligation to help refugees in need, Syrian refugees allowed entry have an obligation to the government and people of the United States. Refugees need to play active roles in society. In order to do so, they should be required to learn English if they are unfamiliar with the language and ensure that they cooperate with the agencies targeted at finding jobs for refugees. Finally, these Syrian refugees must set a standard for refugees around the world in terms of their self conduct and respect towards others.

This past Sunday, hundreds of refugees were involved in a mass disruption that took place at refugee shelter in Berlin, Germany. It was reported that 20 to 30 people out of the 850 refugees started the upheaval, ultimately leading to the arrival of 100 police officers. On a more severe note, rapes in Sweden have increased 1,472% since the 1970’s when Sweden drastically changed its immigration policy—a strong correlation between rape and refugee entry is quite obvious with weekly reports of rape in and around refugee shelters. This type of behavior is not uncommon in refugee holdings, so U.S. admitted refugees must take the responsibility to act in a civil manner.
With the development of the defiant I.S. and the persistent rule of President Assad’s government, Syrian civilians are given no other option than that of leaving what was once their peaceful country. The majority of states in the U.S. do not want to allow entry to Syrian refugees out of a respectful concern for the wellbeing of American civilians; however, with the proper security measures in place, the U.S. government needs to increase the projected number of refugees it can accept in order to ensure the safety of Syrian citizens. While the U.S. can continue to aid the National Coalition of Syria and participate in air raids, innocent Syrian families will still face the possibility of dying in their own country if they are not offered refuge.