The recent terrorist attacks in Paris continue to have far-reaching effects. This time, it comes in the form of questioning whether or not the United States should allow Syrian refugees to enter the country. According to CNN, 31 governors—including Ohio’s John Kasich—have publicly refused to allow Syrian refugees into their states. This newfound fear arose from the belief that one of the suspects in the Paris bombings entered Europe through a recent wave of Syrian refugees. Nearly every governor has cited this incident, claiming that the compassion of the U.S. could lead to deadly terror strikes at home.
Despite this sudden backlash from more than half of U.S. governors, it will have little impact according to President Obama, who has pointed out that the individual states have no control over the admittance of refugees. That power lies at the federal level.
That said, the United States has accepted a miniscule number of Syrian refugees compared to other countries. According to The New York Times, between 2012 and Sept. 2015, the U.S. has accepted 1,854 refugees compared to Germany’s 92,991.
While many people would simply criticize the federal government for not taking strong enough action, those same critics may be unaware of the arduous process refugees from Syria, and other countries including Myanmar, Iraq and Somalia, must go through.
Those wishing to become a refugee in the United States must first apply to the United Nations. They are subsequently screened by the FBI and run through databases of several federal agencies including the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.
While the fears these governors possess may not be completely out of line, it still seems unfair to block an entire group of refugees coming from a country that’s torn itself apart for more than three years. While one person could slip through the cracks, it seems unlikely with such a high level of scrutiny on every potential refugee, Syrian or not.
Not only are the background checks and application process thorough, but, according to the Department of State, more than half of the 18,000 Syrian refugees who have applied to the U.S. are children.
After all that, does it still seem fair to deny all Syrian refugees an escape from their war-torn country, a safe place to restart their lives?
If you want to share your opinion on the Syrian refugee crisis, email Opinions Editor Steven Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org.