At least 15 Republican governors (and maybe more by the time this goes to press) are following in the spiteful footsteps of the governor of Michigan and refusing to accept Syrian refugees into their state as a measure against potential terrorism. The states promoting this new agenda, so far, include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Texas. By contrast, Vermont, Washington, Delaware and Pennsylvania have not only said they will accept refugees, but that this is a federal decision and not up to states. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas sent this open letter to President Obama, and it's the perfect example of the logic currently winning among the "drop dead" camp:
In it, he writes:
Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees - any one of whom could be connected to terrorism - being resettled in Texas.
Effective today, I am directing the Texas Health & Human Services Commission's Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of Texas. And I urge you, as President, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States.
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, emotion is running high in the West now that ISIS has demonstrated the capability to hit European countries, and therefore, perhaps, America. It is also possible that ISIS is simply claiming responsibility for the attacks to make themselves look even more threatening than they actually are. It is believed that one of the eight known terrorists involved in the Paris attacks entered France as a refugee. Three were from nearby Brussels (there are no border checks within the EU).
ISIS portrays itself as representing Muslims in a war against the West that the West started. If America shuts its gates to Syrians fleeing ISIS, whose narrative does that support? If you ignore the fear-mongering hype trying to make the refugees seem like a World War Z horde climbing our gates, here are the actual facts: ISIS wants the U.S. and Europe to reject refugees and make them feel even more isolated, hopeless and desperate. There are currently 7 million Syrian refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has referred 18,000 cases to the U.S. In contrast, Jordan has taken in over 600,000. Tiny Lebanon (with a population of only 4.5 million) has taken in over 1 million. Germany is at almost100,000.
In Michigan (a state with a large Arab and Muslim population), where Governor Rick Snyder is also halting refugee acceptance, a Dearborn attorney and Arab-American advocate named Maged Moughni explains one of the biggest reason why this rejection is a terrible idea:
It's uncalled for ... I think it's really unfair. It's doing what ISIS wants. ... He's just basically buying into what ISIS wants: Muslims against the West ... Gov. Snyder is buying into the rhetoric. I can understand being cautious, but to suspend it is wrong.
President Obama also said today at the G20 summit that refusing refugees is not the answer:
Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our value. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety, and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.
Remember: the warmer the welcome, the better. For all of us.