Should the U.S. be required to provide sanctuary for international refugees?

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In a world where there are seven billion people, unfortunately there are some who live in hellish conditions, seeing their loved ones die on a daily basis, due to the unfortunate wars that end up killing many innocent civilians, who have nothing to do with the political uproar, or war that is going on. The United States should definately provide sanctuary for international refugees for many particular reasons, the US is one of the world’s strongest powerhouses being one of the nations that has the highest consumption rate; it’s simpler for the US to provide shelter for the refugees than the European nations due to the geographical obstacles; the United States has always had their door opened for immigrants throughout history, infact the United States started off as a country founded by immigrants. The country started off with many European immigrants who came to America seeking refuge from harsh governments & religious oppression. These refugees are in the same position that this countries very own founders were in when they came to North America for refuge themselves.

Everyone knows that the land of the United States was the home of many indigenous people until Christopher Colombus discovered the “new land” in 1492, this led to the European colonization in America. Which is exactly why the first settlers in the US were the British, which were the original inhabitants that subsequently founded the first British colony in America,  the Virginia colony. This should give incentive to the United States, to reorganize their priorities, especially because the government already has experience with accepting large waves of immigrants, and giving them lives to live. Dealing with various European immigrants not only in the early 1800’s, with the wave of Irish immigrants coming to seek survival in the US due to the famine they they were dealing with, infact a big portion of today’s population is of Irish descent. As history repeats itself, the United States kept on growing as  a country and as they enhance their political system, even more immigrants flew to the “land of the free” towards the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Many italians migrated in this time, because they believed that there would be more oppurtunity to make a living and help their families; and they had every reason to believe so, epecially because in this time the Unites States was going through a very succesfull industrilization period which led to urbanization, infact even more immigrants escaping for various reasons went to seek refuge and live a better life.  There is no reason for the US not to help immigrants, since they have done so in the past and have proven to have had positive results, excluding the social issues. There is no denying that thanks to today’s way of thinking and the technology that the US has available, accepting refugees will not distract the American government from focusing on military improvement, especially cause the US has the financial capabilities of doing so, being one of the worlds powerhouse.

The previous administration of America led by president Obama took a step to increase the numnber of refugees that the US bring in annually, but this was met by diverse opinions with some calling the move extreme and reckless, arguing that there is need to act upon the humanitarian crisis by denying access to refugees. Arbeiter notes that the fear of refugees is nothing new and has been experienced since 1939 when the US turned away jews who were fleeing from Germany Hitler’s regime. This resulted to a significant number of the jews losing their lives. Had these Jews be allowed entry in the US, they would be safe and boosting the economy of the US in whichever way. Refugees from vietnam for example have become a success story in the US. They have become more likely to be employed and even earn slightly more. These are some of the reasons the US should provide sanctuary for international refugees.

The fear has recently been instigated by increased terrorist threats and attacks but there is no substanrial evidence that these refugees are terrorists because Arbeiter notes that the US has given refuge to almost 1 million refugees since the year 2001 and none have been charged with terrorism. However, this is not to say that all refugees are harmless, infact, there are reports that some of the Paris terrorist passed as refugees through the Greek checkpoint (Reilly). I think what the US needs is a vetting process to ensure that those who are resettled are in genuine need and not driven by other ill motives. The UNHCR has made this possible and it is responsible for recommending those who need to be resettled. Reilly notes that, they only give exceptional considerations to those who are most fragile situations like: people with health issues and cannot be well catered for in camps and single women with multiple children. In 2014 for example the UNHCR had about 14.4 million refugees and after their vetting process, less than 1% were recommended for ressetling in the US. The rest stay in the camps until the situation in their home countries cools down and they are sent back to go rebuild their homeland.

The US has been taking in a low number of refugees compared to many other countries despite being a superpower having the ability to accommodate more people. According to Arbeiter the US takes less than 0.5% of the world’s refugees. Canada for example resettled more than twice the number of refugees from Syria the US resettled. Lebanon and Jordan takes in more refugees per capita than all other European countries.

Acceptance of refugees is a gesture of compassion, It is a channel for people to enjoy what they were fighting for before they fled like in the case of Assad who turned chemical weapons against those fighting for democracy. They can enjoy the democracy in the US while they are hear. According to Rilley, rejection of refugees from Syria is like falling victim of the Isis plan whenever they tell those fleeing that they will regret it and will not be welcomed back to their country. Rejection will enhance the creation of more terrorists since they will side with terrorist groups once they are rejected in the US. It is the joy for Isis when the US rejects muslim children in dire need, they are vulnerable and will be easily brainwashed and turned against America.

The US has not had to make sacrifices because it is in war unlike countries like Syria. It is therefore not right to leave this war to the military alone, we need to offer humanitarian aid, start changing minds and sympathise with refugees.

The current Trump administration has demeaned what the previous administration had put in place by denying access to the US by citizens from specific nationalities. This is not a good move and should be discouraged until we revert to what Obama had put in place. The Obama administration called for improved committment from all nations in regards to helping refugees and he sort to lead by example. Resetlemment of refugees should receive support because the quest for safety and freedom in America shows why America is great and the values it stands for and security is strengthened when there are efficient strong systems in place. The acceptance of refugees in the US will serve to disapprove what terrorist try to claim about the Americans hatred and violence towards other nationalities. It is for these reasons that I think the US should provide sanctuary for international refugees.

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  1. Home – Energy Explained, Your Guide To Understanding Energy – Energy Information Administration, U.S. Energy Information Administration, 19 May 2017, www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page.
  2. Reilly, Elizabeth. “Here’s Why the US Should Accept Refugees.” The York Daily Record, York Daily Record, 25 Nov. 2015, www.ydr.com/story/opinion/readers/2015/11/24/heres-why-us-should-accept-refugees/76325736/.
  3. Arbeiter, Scott. “Opinion | America’s Duty to Take In Refugees.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Sept. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/09/24/opinion/americas-duty-to-take-in-refugees.html.
  4. History.com Staff. “U.S. Immigration Before 1965.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/u-s-immigration-before-1965.
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