By Alyssa Welch, Devon Hassan, Emma Dyer, Julia Caristi
There are currently 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees worldwide. Conflict between anti-government protesters and President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011 and erupted into a devastating civil war. Syrian civilians have been misplaced from their homes and are seeking stable and safe living environments.
The presidential candidates for the upcoming election have differing views on whether or not we should admit Syrian refugees into our nation. The candidates either welcome refugees into the United States, or believe that the United States should not accept them for security reasons
Three years ago, two radicalized immigrants from Kyrgyzstan attacked the world’s oldest annual marathon that has been held in Boston since 1897. Some candidates see the potential of a similar attack with the admittance of refugees.
Based on a poll done on isidewith.com, out of the 270,896 residents of Massachusetts who participated, 60% wanted to allow Syrians to seek refuge in the U.S. while the remaining 40% did not.
The question arises: do we let in refugees and foreigners who have a history of adding to the economy and culture of Massachusetts, or do we keep a potential domestic threat out of the country?
There are currently twenty-seven Syrian refugees in Worcester County . Worcester is one of many “sanctuary cities” of the United States. The term “sanctuary city” refers to cities in the United States or Canada that have policies designed to prevent the prosecution of undocumented persons. These policies have made Worcester into the multicultural city it is today. There is already an established Syrian community in Worcester.
A Student’s Perspective
Sarah Badlissi, a freshman at the University of Hartford, was interviewed about the refugee crisis. She moved to the U.S. a year before the Syrian civil war began, with the intention of returning the next year. Little did she know she would be unable to return home. Sarah’s city, Aleppo, has become the epicenter of the horrific war. Sarah fully supports the admittance of refugees.
New Worcester Spy: What do you think about the war?
Sarah Badlissi: A lot of innocent people lost everything even though they weren’t involved in the war at all…different powers are using forces and weapons to destroy everything in sight.
NWS: Why should we let them in?
SB: Syrians need a new home. Syria used to be a well established country filled with intelligent people. I lived there for eleven years and I know that the people there are very smart. They have a lot to offer. If countries are open minded and willing to help Syrians, Syrians will help them back. They will not just sit in a camp…if they get a home, they can contribute to the greatness of the hosting country.
NWS: What do you think should happen to refugees?
SB: I think that they should get a second chance. Or, in this case, a second life. Countries should negotiate and all agree to take a certain amount of refugees in.
NWS: Any final thoughts or feelings?
SB: My mind still can’t process what’s going on over there. It feels surreal, like a bad nightmare. I wish countries could see this from a Syrian’s perspective – see what it’s like to lose your home or the people you love. We might all live in different countries and have different backgrounds, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing. Above nationalism, we are all humans. The right thing to do is let them in.
Trump does not support Syrian refugees coming to America. Trump believes that it is too dangerous to have these people coming into our country, because of recent terrorist attacks, not only on American soil but in other countries as well.
During a rally in Toledo, Ohio,”Donald Trump…described the threat posed by Syrian refugees as not ‘only a matter of terrorism, but also a matter of quality of life.'”
Clinton does support Syrian refugees coming to America. While addressing a Dallas community college, Clinton spoke on the Syrian Refugee crisis stating, “We have always welcomed immigrants and refugees. We have made people feel that if they did their part… there would be a place for them in America.”
We’ve seen a lot of hateful rhetoric from the GOP. But the idea that we’d turn away refugees because of religion is a new low. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 17, 2015
In an interview with CBS news, Clinton said, “Look, we’re facing the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II, and I think the United States has to do more.”
Hillary Clinton proposes that 10,000 to eventually 65,000 Syrian refugees should enter the country, and wants to put policies in place that allow this process to be expedited in the future. She also talks about her plan to arrange a United Nations convention, where countries will commit to taking in refugees.
Jill Stein believes that Obama’s current foreign policy regime is driving the ongoing refugee crisis, and that these policies should be reversed.
In a recent interview, Jill Stein said, “We need to put out the welcome mat”. She also stated, “There are refugee associations calling on the U.S. to accept, I believe, 100,000 (Syrians) and that’s the figure we need to be talking about.”
When commenting on the Syrian refugee crisis, Gary Johnson stated, “We need to take our share, and I’m not sure what that share should be. I’d like to come up with a formula based on our coalition partners. I wouldn’t say zero, but I don’t know if 65,000 puts us in the category of our fair share.”
Gary is wary about admitting refugees. He believes they should pass background checks before being allowed into the US, for our own nation’s safety.