By Peter Hinman
Just a couple months ago, President Obama unilaterally declared the United States would accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. The decision has had push back from both the Democrats and the Republicans.
In wake of the tragic events that took place in Paris last Friday that we now know were carried out by ISIS, France, and other nations are now closing their doors to Syrian refugees. Now, a majority of states are telling President Obama they want to close their doors as well, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.
As we now know, at least one of the Paris attackers traveled in with a group of Syrian refugees into the country. The current process in Europe was allowing refugees to cross borders without being properly vetted. This, by U.S. law, would not be allowed in the first place.
However, the question is not whether or not we should let innocent victims of the chaos in Syria escape, but rather how we could know if one is a victim or a soldier. There is no one the United States can call in Syria to do a background check, nor is there a way we could possibly have a file on all of the potential applicants. This makes some candidates more ideal than others because there is documentation on some and none on others.
This is complicated, and the right steps to be taken are not just using executive overreach because it is the most humane thing to do. We need a responsible way to deal with the refugee crisis and work with the world on how to get it done. The United States and our allies need to work on addressing the problems stemming in Syria, that would make it safe for these refugees to someday return to their country. We should also look into assisting refugees fleeing chaos in Lebanon and Jordan. But laying out a quota and taking in 10,000 refugees is not the proper way to go about the situation, nor does it fix the problem.
Congress and the executive branch must work together on finding a real solution to the problem.
“It is better to be safe, than sorry,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in his address to the situation on Monday.
Secretary of State John Kerry also added governors must stand up and make certain they are protecting their state’s own welfare. Governors are now acknowledging President Obama’s decision lacks a feasible plan on how to deal with the crisis, even current New Hampshire Governor and probable U.S. Senate candidate Maggie Hassan.
At this time, it is very risky to bring in refugees from Syria. Nonetheless, with the right processes and precautions in place, it can be done.
We must not forget America is the most generous country in the world. On average, we accept 70,000 refugees from around the world on a yearly basis. Properly vetting refugees, so they can assimilate in our country is critical, so we can continue to be secure and the world’s largest force for good.
Peter Hinman is a senior majoring in political science.