The last post, I spoke about the need to be a little more cautious of speech when speaking about an ethnic group that is also a long standing minority population in the United States. Now, I want to express my views on the political question: “Should the United States suspend accepting Syrian refugees, and re-evaluate the process to make sure it is not a risk to our security?”
The short answer is: “I don’t care.” I do care that much of the rhetoric talks about how generous we are to accept these thousands of refugees. The thing is, thousands are nothing when there are more millions in need of aid than there are thousands that we will accept. Whether or not we accept 10,000 will make no difference to the people working with the homeless in Syria, nor with the people working in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Macedonia. I know that for these 10,000 people, living in a safe place full of opportunity will be like winning the lottery; but this leaves the other 99.9%. We can hardly pretend that this humanitarian crisis is something that we bear alone.
This ten thousand people is chosen from a pool of millions. We choose people who we think can be a positive value to the United States to settle, along with their families. We choose people we believe can integrate well. These are not the poor huddled masses, these are business-people and educated professionals who had their livelihoods destroyed along with their homes in the war. We invest in them to help them integrate, trusting that they will enrich the communities where they settle. With so many qualified applicants for so few spots — we are making a very safe investment.
Here is the hard part of the issue: We will have new Syrian doctors in our hospitals, professors in our universities, and businessmen building up small businesses in Main Street America. Those that we take will be exactly those who are needed in Syria when Syria is able to rebuild. Overall, the people we are helping the most is ourselves. This isn’t charity, it is a economic investment for us.
For me, how the State department handles the resettlement of refugees is not a big issue. I know that the solution for the suffering masses in Syria isn’t settling a lucky few here, the real crisis will be handled over there — and the millions who are homeless will eventually need to rebuild Syria; but I also know those few who are invited to come should be welcomed; not only because I am a Christian, and scripture demands it, but also because I am American, and we have long welcomed those who come to be Americans with us.