Split Decision: Should the United States take in Syrian refugees?

Pro: Matt Johnson

When Paris was shaken by deadly terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, it left many Americans fearing for their own safety. In the days following the attacks, many states outright refused to accept Syrian refugees.

The actions and emotions by a majority of the country speak to many things: A growing angst about a potential terrorist attack in the U.S. because of generalizations made about a group of people, and ignorance to critical information.

A growing fear of an impending terrorist attack in the U.S. isn’t a sole result of the attacks in Paris. Concern was already growing in the months before the deadly violence.

Nearly 50 percent of Americans fear that they or a family member will be a victim of a terrorist attack, according to a poll by Gallup, a data-driven news-based site.

This was the highest mark since the months following the attacks on 9/11.

Fear can cause people to avoid rational thinking.

Many people want to be protected and feel safe, but for the 54 percent of Americans opposed to allowing Syrian refugees, according to an ABC News poll, they must look at the whole picture.

For Americans fearing that they or their loved ones will be killed by a terrorist attack, they are taking a single traumatic event and magnifying it to absurd proportions.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention database, finding that between 2004 to 2013, over 300 Americans have been killed by terrorist attacks in the U.S.

This includes acts of terrorism by all races, and terrorism committed by right-wing extremists, a group of Americans acting under a conservative-extremist ideology.

Thus, Americans are twice as likely to be killed by terrorists attacks at the hands of our own people.

New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research center found that since 2002, 51 people have been killed by right-wing extremists versus 26 killed between 2002 and 2015 by jihadists.

But, fear and hatred is turned predominantly towards Muslims and now Syrian refugees of Muslim faith are the primary target.

Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz told supporters during campaign speeches that refugees who can prove they are Christian can come into the country.

Half of the country is telling thousands of Syrian refugees that they can’t come here because of the remote chance that some ISIS members might sneak in and commit a terrorist attack.

This fear-based thinking also occurred in the 1940’s.

After the attacks on Pearl Harbor, 10 internment camps were opened across the U.S. where more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans were held. There had been no proof the Japanese-Americans were involved in Japan’s war efforts, but they put them in camps anyways.

This time remains a black eye in U.S. history.

Fear inhibits rational thinking and when you combine that with racial stereotyping, like many did in the 1940’s and today, it can lead to the unnecessary discrimination of people.

There could very well be a major attack by ISIS in the near future, but that does not mean it will be a result of taking in refugees.

Attempting to block Syrian families from coming to the U.S. does not accomplish anything. It only allows the isolation of people who are in need of help, while further damaging the global view of the U.S.

There could very well be a major attack by ISIS in the near future, but that does not mean it will be a result of taking in refugees.

Attempting to block Syrian families from coming to the U.S. for a new life and safety does not accomplish anything. It only allows the isolation of people who are in need of help, while further damaging the global view of the United States, and its citizens.


Con: Quincie Pruitt

Imagine being in Paris, France, enjoying a nice day in a city known for its art, fashion, and historic landmarks, then all of a sudden you hear bombs go off with shootings occurring almost simultaneously.

On Nov. 13, while thousands in Paris enjoyed their evening, the city and the entire world was shook. Explosions and bullets shattered the atmosphere.

When the last shots and explosions ended, 130 innocent people were killed.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, announced that they were responsible for the horrifying attacks in a statement according to The Washington Post.

The Paris attacks came just a day after ISIS took responsibility for a bombing in Beirut, Lebanon that killed 43 people and 13 days after ISIS took credit for bringing down a Russian airliner, killing all 244 passengers and crew on board, according to the New York Times.

In a span of two weeks, ISIS killed over 400 people. This lead to many in the U.S., and others, to fear that they are next.

ISIS had released a video after the Paris attacks stating that they were planning to attack Washington D.C. as well as other popular tourist locations, according to ABC News.

Syrian citizens are fleeing their country because of the war in Syria. The U.S. introduced a controversial bill which suggests a program that allows resettlement of refugees.

ISIS also stated in the video that they have people in place to make this attack, insinuating that some of the refugees are already on U.S. grounds.

Should we allow the Syrian refugees to come into the U.S. during a time of extreme terrorism from within their own people?

Of course not all Syrian refugees pose a threat, but with ISIS’s agenda to continue with terrorist acts by any means, filtering out the bad seeds may prove to be a difficult task.

Meanwhile in Istanbul, Turkish police detained eight suspects who posed as refugees, and many of those were believed to be linked to the ISIS group, according to The Huffington Post.

The refugees also detailed a migration route from Istanbul to Turkey, Greece, Serbia, and Hungary, according to a Yahoo news article.

Turkey alone has two million Syrian refugees with about 650,000 migrants and refugees who have reached the Greek Islands, as of 2015, according to Yahoo.

Granted that they are fleeing from the war going on within their countries, but with the high rise of attacks from their people, it makes many of us question some of the refugees motives.

Bringing in refugees, some possibly associated with extreme terrorists, may leave many citizens vulnerable to attacks on the U.S.

As many attacks that were reported at the hands of ISIS are recent, there’s always the possibility that the resettlement of Syrian refugees may only allow for more terrorism.

Once the refugees come into the U.S. and become comfortable, who’s to say they won’t help ISIS plan future attacks or attempt to manipulate America citizens into joining their cause.

In regards to the Paris attacks, one of the suicide bombers, identified as Ismael Omar Mostefei, was actually a former resident of France, according to CNN.

As we’re now faced with the decision of whether or not to let the refugees in almost immediately following a number of terrorist attacks, we must first consider our own safety. The risk lies with unpredictability.