After Paris Attacks, Don’t Close Doors to Refugees – Open Them
The anti-Muslim ugliness began as soon as the attacks in Paris became international news. Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz said in a statement Friday evening that the U.S. must “immediately declare a halt to any plans to bring refugees” from Syria into the United States. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said more or less the same, while South Carolina’s Jeff Duncan asked cynically on Twitter, “How’s that Syrian refugee resettlement look now?”
As German Lopez pointed out in Vox, these politicians have it backwards. Terrorist attacks in Western cities should make us more sympathetic to refugees fleeing Syria: The horror in Paris Friday evening is a daily reality of the civil war they’re trying to escape.
There will be more calls in the coming days to close the United States’ borders to refugees, and in France and the rest of Europe, those voices will likely be deafening. Already in the midst of a refugee crisis, European nations may give in to anger and fear and shut their doors for good. Congress will urge President Obama to do the same and cancel modest plans to resettle some refugees from Syria.
But we should do the opposite. When we see attacks like the horror in Paris, we should open our borders to a flood of refugees, not close them. We should shower those families with generosity. We should make sure they have jobs that fit their skills. We should educate their children. We should provide them health care and whatever social services they need.
The West should do everything in its power to make those fleeing ISIS and extremism everywhere feel welcome and wanted.
We’ve been at war with terror for nearly a decade and a half now. We killed Osama bin Laden. We replaced hostile governments in Iraq and Afghanistan with client states. We defeated tyrants, yes, but we left chaos in their place.
And nothing we have done has stopped the tide of terrorist recruitment. One eyewitness account from Paris described a shooter in the Bataclan theater as 20 to 25 years old; that would have made him a child on 9/11.