Governors in seven states have just announced that they will not allow Syrian refugees—who are fleeing a brutal civil war that has displaced millions—to be resettled in their states. So far, several leaders in Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana and Mississippi have said they are requesting that no more refugees be resettled in their states until certain security and screening measures are put into place or can be reviewed. The announcements come after more than 120 people were killed in terrorist attacks by suspects authorities believe are connected to ISIS in Syria.
President Obama recently announced that the United States would resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees who have fled war, violence and ISIS in the country. The war has killed more than 220,000 people, and has displaced 11 million. In 2015 alone, more than 2,600 have died at sea while attempting to escape the violence. Many of them were children.
While speaking at the G20 Summit in Turkey, President Obama defended the policy, explaining that refugees represent victims of ISIS as well.
The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism; they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.
He also said that America will not use individuals’ religion as a basis for who it helps.
When I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians, but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. we don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
UPDATE: The list of states not accepting Syrian refugees is growing.