When you were younger, did your mother ever tell you to "kill them with kindness?" In a world where most people don't go very far out of their way to help one another, being a friendly and welcoming person can truly go a long way. Today, an estimated three million refugees have fled Syria, escaping what is shaping up to be one of the bloodiest civil wars in modern history. The sheer volume of these helpless people is half the battle in dealing with them.
America is a nation founded by immigrants. Before the United States even became an independent country, Europeans fleeing religious persecution came to the American colonies. Later on, people began coming from all over the world in search of a newer, safer and more prosperous life. This is the story of many Syrians. In a nation torn apart by war, these people are fleeing to the west in search of a better life.
This isn't the first time that this type of event has occurred. It was just over seventy years ago that Europe went through what was undoubtably one of the darkest times in its history. The Jews who were lucky enough not to be part of the six million killed in the Holocaust fled to America, England and other Allied powers. Wherever there is conflict, there are innocents whom are either caught in the crossfire or are themselves targeted. That's the unfortunate reality of war.
So in theory, there shouldn't even be a discussion as to whether or not we should accept Syrian refugees, right? Wouldn't rejecting them be contrary to our democratic values? If the story about the refugees ended here, yes, it would be. But the case against bringing Syrian refugees into the United States is far more complex than just some xenophobia and racial discrimination towards Muslims. There are some very serious concerns that cannot be overlooked with accepting Syrian refugees, perhaps the greatest of which is the grave national security danger that some of them might pose.
The threat posed by a trojan horse-style infiltration by ISIS fighters disguised as refugees isn't some right-wing conspiracy theory. Multiple domestic and foreign intelligence services have already warned that ISIS has and is currently attempting to sneak in fighters disguised as refugees to carry out attacks inside of the United States. Some Syrian refugees who've already been granted asylum in America have since been arrested on terror-related charges.
In an attempt to address this legitimate concern, President Obama has made it abundantly clear on multiple occasions that Syrian refugees coming into the United States are going to be processed through an unprecedentedly thorough vetting process to ensure that no ISIS fighters are able to hide amongst them. In theory, this would work. In reality, however, Syria isn't a technologically advanced country with a state-of-the-art computerized database of its citizens like the United States, Israel, or the UK. It's simply not possible to vet them for the very simple reason that there's very little information available about them that we can screen. As a matter of fact, the FBI has already warned the Obama administration that there's simply no way they can effectively vet these refugees. The FBI can question them all they want, but the harsh reality is that we have absolutely no idea who these people are.
So on one hand, we have the President promising that refugees will be thoroughly vetted to eliminate the risk of terrorists slipping into the country, but on the other hand, the very agency that was placed in charge of carrying out the vetting process is claiming that it is impossible. Either the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are collaborating and trying to mislead Americans, or President Obama is outright lying to us.
Here's some food for thought: Where the hell are all of the oil-rich gulf Arab Nations like Qatar and Saudi Arabia in this mess; shouldn't they be the first to stand up for and help their Arab brethren in their darkest hours.
It's genuinely heartbreaking to hear some of the stories told by these refugees. Their situation is a tragedy that nobody could ever possibly imagine having to be in themselves, and one that no human being should ever have to suffer through. But there's two sides to every coin. France learned this the hard way just a few months ago when it was discovered that one of the Paris attackers snuck in as a Syrian refugee. Sure, you could argue that our screening system for refugees is going to be much more stringent than that of France. But as Murphy's Law states, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Should we trade the safety and security of our nation for the sake of being a bit more humanitarian
Imagine if someone handed you a bowl of M&Ms and told you that a couple of the M&Ms might be poisonous and would kill you if you ate them. Would you still eat from that bowl? Of course you wouldn't! We need to think long and hard about this decision. Yes, the humanitarian and morally correct thing to do would be to accept these refugees. But is it worth the inevitable jeopardy that our national security would be placed in? I for one don't believe it is.
My name is Benjamin Jaffe. I was born and raised in South Florida and plan on majoring in political science at Hebrew University in Israel.