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Is America Still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

November 25, 2015
Plain English Version
Nayef Buteh, 45, right, and Feryal Jabur, 41, arrived in Detroit last week with their 8-year-old son, Arab. The family left Syria in 2013 for a refugee camp in Jordan. Credit Salwan Georges for The New York Times

Nayef Buteh, 45, right, and Feryal Jabur, 41, arrived in Detroit last week with their 8-year-old son, Arab. The family left Syria in 2013 for a refugee camp in Jordan. Credit Salwan Georges for The New York Times

The U.S. House of Representatives wants to keep Syrian refugees from coming into the country. They are afraid that some of them may be terrorists. The governors of most of the states have also put up “Not Welcome” signs.

Since the fall of 2014 more than 1,800 Syrian refugees have come to America. They left behind wretched lives in their home country. They left behind all their belongings.

When they apply to come to the U.S., they go through a screening process. It takes least two years to be accepted as refugees. In other words, these refugees are safe bets to become good members of the community.

Michigan is home to many Syrian refugees. Three months ago the governor said refugees were great for the economy. Now he has changed his mind. He wants to keep Syrians out.

Keeping the homeland safe is important. That is not why so many want to ban Syrians from the country.

The real reason is politics. The Democrats running for president support the current refugee policy. The Republicans running for president think they can tie immigration reform to the current refugee crisis.

The Republicans want foreign-born persons to be seen as a possible threat. They are using this strategy to bring out certain kinds of voters. They are seeking voters who think this country as overrun by people who do not look or sound like them.

President Obama has said he is ashamed of the reaction to the Syrians. He will not change his views on refugees just because people oppose them. Still, he is not rallying the country to the defense of our refugee policy.

The election of the next president is on November 8, 2016. It will decide the future of the country. Will that include the “welcome mat” for which America has always been known?

Source: The New York Times November 23, 2015

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