Opinion: America should not accept Syrian refugees

Shelby Nichols

In the wake of the brutal attacks in Paris, my outlook on the Syrian refugee crisis has changed drastically.

When I first heard of the refugees entering the United States, I was so happy that our country would take in those who needed escape, those who needed and fought for a better life for themselves and their families. Then ISIS attacked Paris, taking more than 120 innocent lives, and attacking six different locations.

Paris closed its borders, and it made me think – why are we inviting people in when we have no way of doing a background check or knowing for sure if they are part of ISIS or a different terrorist organization? Simple answer – we shouldn’t.

Governors in more than half of the United States agree, and have moved to suspend or restrict the refugee resettlement, including: Mississippi, Michigan and North Carolina. Among the 30 states that have expressed their resentment of the idea, all but one currently have Republican governors.

Though many interpret not allowing refugees in as selfish and a crime against humanity, it is actually smart. Why should we, one of the most powerful countries in the world, invite possible terrorists into our country? It was a great idea until Paris was openly attacked.

The various states’ decision to not allow refugees in comes largely because one of the lead suspects of the Paris terrorist attack entered Europe falsely as a Syrian refugee. He entered Greece earlier last month.

Because of this, many in the country view Syrian refugees as a serious potential security threat, as ISIS has threatened the United States many times, and especially now in the wake of the Paris attack.

In September, Obama announced that 10,000 Syrians would be allowed in the United States every year. In wake of these attacks, his view has not changed. For others, it has changed completely.

Legally, who gets to come to the United States is in the Constitution as a federal issue so individual states are powerless. Though the various governors in different states can express their discontent for accepting the refugees, in truth, there is not much they can do except make the acceptance process more difficult.

Without the state’s cooperation, the government has a much more difficult task. A state can’t legally say it will not accept refugees, but it can refuse to cooperate with the government. This seems to be the plan for over half the nation.

When it comes down to it, the federal government has the power of the 1980 refugee act to put the refugees anywhere from Maine to California, and there’s really no argument against that. The argument is not in whether they can let refugees come to the United States, but rather if they should.

More than 250,000 people have died since violence broke out in Syria in 2011, and at least 11 million people have fled their homes.

Syrians are now the world’s largest refugee population, with most just attempting to find any safe haven they can, particularly in Europe.

Though many argue that we should continue helping refugees escape now more than ever, I strongly disagree. I honestly believe security comes first.

How can we protect others when we are so concerned with protecting our own citizens? ISIS has proven itself to go to vast measures to prove its strength. The United States is a target they are intensely looking at. They have already said they have members in America.

It’s true. Bringing in refugees is simply too dangerous right now. It was all too easy for the man posing as a refugee to enter Europe. How do people not believe this could easily happen in our nation as well? As of right now, I don’t trust our government enough to allow one refugee in.

Currently, there is no credible threat against most of the states that are rejecting refugees, and in many cases, no Syrian refugee has been placed there as of yet. One state that has openly spoken out about accepting refugees is Delaware, which is ironically enough the smallest state.

The governor believes that though the Paris attacks were terrible, the refugees are still what they are: refugees, looking for a way out of their terror. Though this is true, the risk is too much right now.

I believed strongly that we should help the refugees, and that it was simply the only humane thing to do. But as I was watching my TV and saw the Paris attack coverage, my mind changed completely.

We cannot let this happen in America. We have to do everything in our power to prevent it, and because of that reason, accepting refugees is impossible right now.

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