Taking on staggering numbers of refugees demonstrates compassion, but could it also pose a threat to the U.S.? According to Odyssey, there seems to be opposing views on the subject. Immigration author and journalist Roy Beck compares immigrants to candy. He questions that if only three out of 100 candies are poisoned, is it worth the risk to consume them? Conservative officials believe that taking on refugees will help secure international trades.
President Obama announced in September that the U.S. plans to receive over 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. After the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino left over 130 people dead, the governors of 31 states made it clear they will not accept Syrians seeking asylum, reports Odyssey. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, claimed that the U.S. has welcomed refugees in the past, but will not allow terrorists to abuse their act of compassion. He believes it is better to be safe than sorry. Ryan further stated, “The responsible thing is to take a pause in this particular aspect of the refugee program in order to verify that terrorists are not trying to infiltrate the refugee population.”
CNBC reports that the U.S. supports approximately 2,200 Syrian refugees. The screening process takes 18 to 24 months and costs the U.S. millions of dollars, which only adds to the rising debt. The Republican governors believe that this endeavor is unreasonable given the country’s own rising poverty percentage.
The U.S. is not the only country offering asylum. Canada has also agreed to do so. On Dec. 11, 2015, The New York Times announced that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed Syrian refugees in Toronto. His first words were, “You’re safe at home now.” Each refugee received warm winter coats and toys for their children. To the Canadians, welcoming the refugees was a show of compassion, and there is little concern that doing so could pose a threat to the country.
Although many Canadians support the plan to welcome thousands of Syrians, they are not without their opposition. According to The New York Times, defeated Conservative parties in Canada argued about the timing and details of bringing in more Syrians, but there is no real threat to thwart the program. By the end of February 2016, over 25,000 Syrian refugees will be accepted into the country. Sponsor groups are working hard to raise 28,000 Canadian dollars (20,000 U.S. dollars) for each family. This money will go toward housing, education, and resettlement needs.
According to CNN, things are a bit more complicated in the U.S. It is up to the federal government to determine who will and will not be received by the country, however, without the participation of the states, the task becomes much more arduous. American University law professor Stephen I. Vladeck admits that a state cannot legally object to supporting asylum seekers, but they can refuse to cooperate.
Odyssey believes that despite the pros and cons for offering asylum, countries will continue to ponder the dilemma between showing compassion and protecting the borders. If only a few of the candies are poisoned, is it worth the risk of consuming them? Compassion is a novel idea, states CNN, but what about the cost? Given recent events, people are wondering whether taking on so many refugees in the U.S. could pose a threat to the country.
By Rowena Portch
CNN: Paris Attacks Syrian Refugees Backlash
New York Times: Syria Refugees Arrive in Canada
Odyssey: Pros And Cons Of Syrian Refugees In The USA
Featured Image by Mark Knobil Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons – Creative Commons License