Donald Trump said that he will seek to “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.”
The war occuring in Syria is hellish. It is awful and it leaves a trail of refugees in its wake. There are concerns that have been echoed repeatedly about possible ISIS operatives entering the US under the cover of refugee status.
This threat has been downplayed. The 18-month screening process for refugees brought into the country is indeed thorough, but the threat does exist.
There’s a thorough vetting process refugees must go through to join us here in the United Sates. 18-months of screening and its own kind of hell. But it’s worth it to those who make it through because they are alive and they are safe.
In practice, however, anything less than perfection will leave human victims and loved ones searching for answers. Families upset with the loss they have endured. Families angry at the government and demanding justice. A high success rate won’t mean much to that family, and percentage points don’t do much to ease public anxiety when families are crying on camera.
Like Dr. Cox from bones stated ever so poignantly:
“Statistics mean nothing to the individual.”
And if you happen to know the individual, if you are the indidivual affected, you’re not going to care much for the governments offer that it’s doing its best. To you, that kind of “best” just isn’t good enough. And you’d be right.
So Why Should We Accept Any Refugees?
This comes down to who we are as a country and what values we espouse. The words on one of our country’s most recognizable symbols, the Statue of Liberty, states the following.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
For decades we have taken pride in reaching out and helping those in need. We have taken refugees from wars all around the globe, saved countless lives, and through that opportunity, many of those immigrants and their descendants changed the way we live our daily lives with their innovations.
For example, Steve Jobs, the man who changed the way we do mobile computing. His dad was a Syrian immigrant. Albert Einstein? He was also an immigrant. The list goes on without end.
We have been an example of decency and morality in the world, despite the glaring flaws we have shown along the way. We have been the country setting the tone for the entire human species, and our influence has ripple effects worldwide. That has to mean something. Our values have to matter.
Is It Worth the Risk to Uphold These Values?
Not if you’re the individual. Or maybe it is worth the risk to the individual still?
This is a personal decision. The consequences, if the nightmare scenario was to happen to you or your loved ones, are severe.
I understand the fear, the concerns and have seen firsthand the consequences of an extremist ideology in action. This topic required some soul searching, but I landed at an unavoidable personal decision.
I believed in the values espoused by our country to the rest of the world, and I was ready to earn our reputation… even if it created pain that personally affected me. We claim to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Bravery requires something that scares you, pushes you beyond your comfort zone and makes you stand up for a person or purpose that has meaning to you. I believe our values are important, and they are worth putting on a brave face and standing up for.
What Will Happen?
With a President Trump in charge of the country, it seems we will be making the decision to err on the side of caution instead of accepting the risk.
The ripple effects of America’s stance will be felt beyond the safety of our shores. The American people will likely be safer in the short term, but our standing in the world will likely degrade as a result. The constant concern of what the world thinks, at the exclusion of what’s best for America, however, is part of what caused this revolution to begin with. So we are back at square one.
It is time for America to have an open bipartisan dialogue about who we are, and what our shared values and concerns may be. America is and will continue to be an example to the world. But we are at a point where defining exactly what that means is more important than ever before.
Let’s start the discussion here. Please share this with your friends on Facebook and let’s get our voices heard.