Staff editorial: Be compassionate for Syrian refugees

No matter our political opinions, we should treat refugees with respect

JagWire staff

The inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty, calling for the tired, the poor and “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is the heart of our country’s values. Since our nation’s conception, we’ve prided ourselves on being leaders of the free world, inviting in the outcasts and correcting injustice no matter the circumstances. Where America’s friendly spirit faults, however, is how some people treat today’s refugees. From President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban to Gov. Sam Brownback’s withdrawal of Kansas from the national refugee program, we seem to have lost our spirit of unconditional kindness. Welcoming refugees with open arms is the best way to represent our nation’s values and to truly embrace patriotism.

Living in Shawnee is a privilege, and we should consider ourselves lucky to live here. We have nice houses, nice schools and nice people. Instead of being resentful towards refugees, be appreciative that you’ve never had to experience a painful relocation like they have.

Refugees are from a different world than we are. They’ve experienced danger and ha

Be appreciative that you’ve never had to experience a painful relocation.”

ve lived through trauma before seeking refuge in the U.S.. Despite all the obstacles, the hatred and the loss, they’ve managed to get here because of the opportunities the U.S. holds. No matter our political opinions, we should be compassionate to these people for having the courage to come here.

Additionally, refugees are not dangerous, despite what some people believe. They’re not spiking the crime rate; they’re actually helping it drop. According to the New American Economy, in communities that accepted refugees, nine out of the 10 studied became “considerably more safe, both in terms of their levels of violent and property crime.” In some places such as Southfield, Michigan, “violent crime dropped by 77 percent.”

For those still concerned about safety, do some research into the long, horrendous process needed to gain access to the U.S..

Despite what some say, refugees already face one of the most rigorous vetting processes in the globe. Among a list from the New York Times, steps include international registration, multiple interviews and screenings, grant applications, security checks, cultural orientation classes and even more security checks. Of course, in between those steps takes months of waiting. The process usually takes 18 months at minimum, and as you can see, is extremely extensive.

It’s scary to face something unknown, and it can be even harder to let in people who we know next to nothing about. Part of fixing the problem is rewriting the narrative many people believe to be true, painting refugees alongside terrorists. Refugees are not criminals or terrorists; the very definition of the word “refugee” means someone who is escaping terrorism. As Americans and as people, we should be striving for the inclusivity of the Statue of Liberty.

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