WASHINGTON — As the debate over whether Syrian refugees should be allowed to resettle in the United States has heated up following the Islamic State's attack on Paris, a panel of refugee resettlement experts briefed congressional staffers on Monday about the facts behind the U.S.' refugee resettlement process.
While over 4 million refugees have fled Syria due to the ongoing civil war and the rise of the IS, also called ISIS or ISIL, many politicians and presidential candidates have argued that allowing Syrian refugees to enter the U.S. will make the American public more susceptible to terrorist attacks from extremists who have infiltrated the resettlement system.
However, such rhetoric does not match up with the facts provided by the panel, which included representatives from three of the nine agencies authorized to resettle refugees inside the U.S., and other human rights experts. more >>
The United States government has a "God-given responsibility" to secure its borders and "protect its citizens" from extremists trying to infiltrate the country, Dallas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress has said.
Following the Islamic State's attacks in Paris earlier this month, Americans remain largely divided on whether the U.S. should allow Syrian refugees to resettle inside the country.
As the Obama administration gears up to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, many Christian conservatives have argued that granting them asylum in the U.S. will make the nation more susceptible to attacks from jihadis who have infiltrated the resettlement program. more >>
We weren't planning to get involved in the Syrian refugee struggle, but when the crisis became world news, we packed our family into our minivan and drove roughly 2,000 miles from Estonia to help. What we saw there changed our lives.
When we arrived in Serbia, we found that the refugees come in waves. At one moment, the temporary camps will have less than 100 people waiting for a bus to the next border. Then as buses come in and unload, suddenly there will be thousands of refugees there, without shelter and food, and sometimes without warm clothes.
We collected and carried humanitarian aid to two camps in Serbia — one at the central train station of Belgrade, the other near a bus station by Serbia's southern border with Macedonia. We had already received donations from individuals and churches in eight countries that allowed us to purchase blankets, clothes, food, and heaters. We filled our van four times, and, each time, the van was emptied and the supplies distributed within minutes. more >>
I know I'm not the only one whose Facebook page has been blowing up with various opinions and strategies concerning the Syrian refugees and their relation to American national security. I've admired my friends who've brought up the issue with wisdom and a listening heart — no matter what side they've come down on.
After sitting on the sidelines for a couple days, here's my take on five things to ask ourselves:
1) Is it really us vs. them? more >>
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton asserted on Thursday that Muslims are "peaceful and tolerant people" and have "nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."
In a speech given at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, the former Secretary of State and First Lady discussed how she feels the United States should be doing more to combat the Islamic State terrorist organization. She also criticized Republicans who often claim "radical Islamic terrorism" is America's biggest threat.
"The bottom line is that we are in a contest of ideas against an ideology of hate, and we have to win. Let's be clear, though. Islam is not our adversary," Clinton argued. "Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism. The obsession in some quarters with a clash of civilization or repeating the specific words, 'radical Islamic terrorism' isn't just a distraction." more >>
The terrorist attacks in Paris have resulted in a renewed focus on the previously announced plan by the Obama administration to relocate 10,000 refugees from Syria to the U.S. Various Republican candidates and many state governors have expressed concern over the policy in the wake of the attacks, with as many as 26 governors announcing that their states will not accept Syrian refugees — although their legal or practical ability to prevent the refugees from coming to their state is unclear.
President Barack Obama has fought back against these reactions and defended his policies, saying, "We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic."
This, of course, is not the first time that Americans have been faced with the issue of dealing with refugees fleeing some form of oppression or political reprisal in countries around the world. more >>