In the wake of recent ISIS/Daesh terrorist attacks, much of the American public has had a collective freakout and demanded that the United States not accept Syrian refugees. Republican presidential candidates have also seized on this rash of paranoia, and Congress has passed legislation that has called for even stricter scrutiny of people who already undergo over a year’s worth of paperwork and vetting before being allowed into the country as refugees.
Refugee status in the United States is not an easy thing to get, and it is subject to intense review which is higher than anyone else allowed into the country.
In other words, many Americans are having an ignorant fit over a small number of people being brought inside our borders, despite the fact that we have a problem with domestic terrorism that the media rarely talks about.
Canadians don’t seem to be buying into the fear like Americans are, and their government has a great program that shares the job of resettling refugees with citizens who want to help.
Via Public Radio International:
Canada began encouraging small groups, of at least five Canadian citizens or residents, to sponsor refugees back in 1979 to help bring in additional Vietnamese. Since then, volunteers in Canada have helped resettle more than 225,000 refugees from across the globe, according to the Canadian Council for Refugees.
Canada is the only country that has the private sponsorship of refugees mandated into its immigration law. In 1986, the “People of Canada” were awarded the Nansen Refugee Award, presented annually by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to an individual, group, or organization in recognition of outstanding service. (Source)
While American political figures like Donald Trump and the media are stoking fear about Syrian refugees, our neighbor to the north is welcoming them in.
If you were a Syrian refugee, which country would you want to go to? A country with national healthcare, low crime, and strong gun laws – or a country in the control of religious fanatics with guns everywhere, and domestic terrorist organizations like the KKK?
As an American, I am ashamed of my country and the people who are fear-mongering out of fear, or to score political points with their ignorant base. We are a nation of immigrants, a country that has prospered because of immigration and diversity. My grandmother was born in Russia and her family left to escape Czar Nicholas. My grandfather was a Spanish sailor who was “illegal” for most of his life here in the United States, yet worked tirelessly to support my father and his family throughout the Great Depression.
Syria was a relatively stable country until the Arab Spring, despite the turmoil in other countries which was partly due to decades of America propping up and then deposing dictators like Saddam Hussein in the region. This crisis with Syrian refugees is a catastrophe of our own making, and we have a responsibility to take in the victims of our failed foreign policy when it comes to the Middle East.
Unlike the United States, Canada refuses to live in fear. We could learn a lesson from them, or continue down our misguided path of hatred which makes us look like cowards to the world.
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