Head to Head: The Migrant Crisis – The United States should have empathy for refugees
It is disgraceful that America has not done more to help the multitudes of migrants fleeing war, forced labor and other horrendous conditions in North Africa and the Middle East.
Out of selfishness and fear, wealthy nations have left countries with the fewest resources to bear the largest burden.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, 1.9 million Syrians have taken refuge in Turkey, 1.1 million in Lebanon and 630,000 in Jordan since 2011, compared to 1,500 in the United States.
This September, the Obama administration announced plans to accept an additional 10,000 Syrians in 2016 and 30,000 global refugees in the next two years, but we have the capacity to do so much more.
Eighteen major U.S. cities have already urged the federal government to increase that number, according to a press release from The Pew Charitable Trusts on Sept. 29.
American cities that have seen population declines in recent years have much to gain.
The Detroit News Editorial Board on Sept. 15 notes Detroit has up to 80,000 abandoned structures, which could be repaired and revitalized by willing refugees.
Community members in St. Louis rallied with a cry of “Bring them here!,” requesting at least 60,000 Syrians to add to the city’s vibrant tradition of refugee acceptance and immigrant entrepreneurship, Sarah Kendzior wrote for The Guardian on Sept. 15.
Benefits of increased migration to the United States are plentiful, from economic gains to assurance of a stable birth rate, yet we hold back under the pretense of security issues.
Migrants are often misunderstood and seen as threatening, when truly, they are the vulnerable ones.
“We used to think of migration as a human security issue: protecting people and providing assistance,” the Brookings Institution’s Senior Fellow Khalid Koser said in a Sept. 23 Council on Foreign Relations brief. “Now we clearly perceive—or misperceive—migration as a national security issue.”
The assumption that migrants pose a threat to America is simply unfounded.
An article from the Economist, on Oct. 17, cites the Migration Policy Institute’s statistic that of 745,000 refugees resettled in the US since 9/11, only two have been arrested on terrorism charges.
Moreover, we have a moral obligation to change our approach.
Borders are nothing but an artificial construct.
Human beings, in the magnitudes of hundreds of thousands, are risking their lives because the conditions into which they have been born are so unbearable.
We, as affluent, privileged people, should be doing everything we can to help.
Check out the other head to head on the migrant crisis here