The Right to Enter: Addressing Refugees from Muslim-Majority Countries in the U.S.
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Approximately 21.3 million individuals were forcibly relocated from their home countries in 2015 (UN Refugee Agency). Refugees from Muslim-majority countries, such as Syria and Afghanistan, are fleeing the political and social turmoil fostered by Islamic State (IS) to Europe and the United States. Forced to abandon their homes and attempt dangerous journeys to find safety, nearly 100,000 children have been separated from their parents.
Yet, the United States has adopted a stance toward refugees that is both discriminatory and inhumane. Executive Order 13780, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” has restricted travel from several Muslim-majority countries and suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). The number of refugees allowed into the United States will decrease by 60% for 2018 fiscal year.
This policy is based on several misconceptions...
1. Admitting refugees will endanger American citizens.
- Misconception 1a: Many refugees are radical Islamic terrorists.
- HOWEVER, zero Americans have been killed by Syrian refugees in a terrorist attack in the United States (The Atlantic).
- Although approximately 784,000 refugees have immigrated to the United States since September 11, 2001, only 0.0004% of refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities (migrationpolicy.org).
- Misconception 1b: Refugees will commit violent crimes (ex. rape, assault).
- HOWEVER, you are more likely to die from a piece of clothing or a child wielding a gun than a foreign-born terrorist (Vox, 2017).
2. Admitting refugees into the United States will drain the U.S economy.
- Misconception 2a: Refugees will require expensive government resources and services (ex. Medicaid/Medicare, public education, public aid).
- HOWEVER, although “refugees tend to receive more public benefits than the U.S.-born population during their first five years in the United States,” this gap between the aid refugees require compared to nationals require is almost entirely eliminated after 10 years (Center for Immigration Studies).
Misconception 2b: Refugees will compete for and take our jobs.
- HOWEVER, refugees in southeast Michigan “contributed as much as $295 million to the region’s economy and created as many as 2,300 jobs last year” (Global Detroit).
- Refugees have generated between $229.6 million and $295.3 million in new spending and created between 1,798 and 2,311 new jobs in 2016 in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Washtenaw counties in Michigan (Global Detroit).
- Regardless of the cost, there is a moral duty to help refugees who have escaped Syria and aspire to find new homes in Europe and the United States.
- 4 out of 10 Syrian families who have fled to Lebanon, aspiring to flee the region, are food insecure, which means they do not have enough food (UNICEF).
- “45% of Syrian 0-5 year olds are not accessing proper health services including vaccinations and disability services” (UNICEF).
- “38% of Syrian children are not in school, citing distance, cost, lack of space and bullying as reasons for dropping out or not enrolling” (UNICEF).
- Throughout the war in Syria, 250,000 people have died, 1 million have been wounded, and 11 million have been displaced from their homes (Washington Post).
To stop the damage caused by this executive order, we propose…
The United States should admit, at a minimum, 75,000 refugees into the United States annually beginning in 2019 Fiscal Year
- This would meet the global humanitarian standard of 75,000.
Boosting funding to the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by 8%
- This could expedite the “case-by-case” admissions process for refugees
- Similar to the European Refugee Fund, this would: Provide greater opportunities for economic, legal and social assistance, employment and health care.
- Similar to the European Union’s Temporary Protection Directive, this would:
Provide immediate and temporary protection for refugees
Refugees are not a threat to our safety or an economic concern.
This is a call towards a humanitarian concern. With millions of innocent families from Muslim-majority countries living in danger and poverty, we all have a duty to help.
Hopefully, you are inclined to sign this petition to help these families.
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