About a year ago, I wrote an article opposing the resettlement of refugees in the United States. But after doing my research, I now wholeheartedly support the refugee resettlement program.
The process of admitting a refugee to the United States is a lengthy one. First, refugees are screened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.N. refugee agency that determines who are refugees, whether they should be resettled and where they will be resettled.
About 1 percent of all applying refugees makes it past this step. Soldiers and militants are almost always automatically disqualified.
If a refugee is referred to the United States, they then undergo screening by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, CIA, FBI and the State Department — five departments that seem to take their jobs fairly seriously. These screenings involve in-person interviews, cultural orientation classes, retinal scans, fingerprint scans and a litany of other processes.
Once refugees have passed all the tests, the state department refers them to one of nine nonprofit organizations, six of which are faith-based.
From here, the nonprofit determines where to send them, a family connection usually being the goal. They are given a $1,000 stipend to get them through the first three months, after which they must repay the nonprofit for the price of the plane ticket.
They are assisted in finding housing in the open market and finding a job. After three months, refugees are free to relocate if they choose.
Since the 9/11 attacks, 750,000 refugees have been settled in the U.S. and so far only one, the Ohio State Stabber, has committed a terrorist attack. This means that the percent of refugees who commit terrorist attacks are .00000133 percent; we are essentially condemning thousands of people to their deaths due to a .00000133 percent chance that they might commit a terrorist act.
The president’s enacted Muslim ban — and it is essentially a Muslim ban, because exceptions are made for non-Muslims — is especially odd in that the seven countries that are on the list have not once launched a terrorist attack against the United States.
Conveniently, none of the Middle Eastern countries in which Trump has business interests are included. I’m not saying our leader would commit acts of blatant corruption at the expense of our republic in exchange for his personal profit, but it is interesting that the countries that launch the most terror attacks on us aren’t banned.
During World War II thousands of Jews tried to escape Nazi Germany. Sneaking out of neutral ports, cramming into boats and braving the German Wolf Packs, they made the journey to freedom.
What did the U.S. do? We feared the Nazis would send spies in with the refugees and shut the door in their face. They were then returned to Europe, where many of them perished. It is hard not to note the similarities to our current situation.
There are people who will beat their chests about national security while actively cowering from women and children, but I would prefer to refer to one of America’s great inscriptions:
“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.”
America is a nation founded by refugees. To deny entry to these refugees, who are in just as dire straits as all of our ancestors were, is a horrible hypocrisy to which the American people are being made complicit by a president whose sole capability seems to be fearmongering. Refusing to aid these refugees is horribly un-American.