The United States is a big country. Over the years it has welcomed millions of refugees. Many came from Cuba and Vietnam.
Millions of Syrians now are fleeing violence at home. The U.S. has a lot to answer for as a reason for their misery. In other times, the U.S. would have welcomed them.
These times are different for two reasons. First, there is a real fear of terrorists coming to America. The second reason is the campaign of Donald Trump for president. Trump wants to bar all Middle East refugees. It is a major issue of his campaign.
Last year President Obama said ten thousand refugees would come in a year. That has happened. Last week, a planeload carrying 200 refugees arrived. They are going to California and Virginia.
Trump said that, if he were president, refugees would face “extreme vetting.” They do face vetting today. It takes between 12 and 18 months to clear the screening process. President Obama said he wants to move faster.
The president has been quiet about reaching his goal for ten thousand refugees. That is because the number is low next to the need. Settlement agencies know two things. The need for resettling is great. The ability and willingness of Americans to welcome refugees is clear.
More than half of the Democrats in the country favor admitting refugees. Less than one out of five of Republicans do.
The politics of the day has had an effect. Syrians face tough vetting. After early screening the acceptance rate of Syrian families is high. Ten thousand Syrians were accepted. Half are under age eighteen. Most of those turned away are young adult men.
This has not stopped a Republican representative from writing to the president. He said, “We need to stop accepting Syrian Refugees. It is a matter of national security.”
Source: The Christian Science Monitor August 29, 2016