Syrian Refugees Seek a Helping Hand



Syria is in turmoil. Plagued by a civil war between its totalitarian government and rebel groups, as well as the involvement of the rising Islamic State, the Syrian people are in a deadly conundrum. Both sides are inflicting serious casualties on civilians, and ISIS is seeking to gain power and control in the region.
A growing dilemma in the United States as well as European countries is whether to accept refugees fleeing the slaughter. According to CNN, the United States has accepted just under 2,200 refugees since 2011 out of an estimated four million, though efforts are being made to accept more. Oregon is one of the states that has agreed to accept refugees in the future. English teacher Josh Schierman said it is part of American tradition to accept refugees.

“It is in the spirit of America to take in immigrants,” Schierman said. “There is a lot of room in Oregon.”

Those who oppose the acceptance of refugees cite several reasons for their stance, including the possibility of violence and terrorist attacks from the immigrants. Senior Maxwell Freeman said these reasons are viable, but should not stop the United States from accepting refugees.

“There could be dangerous people coming in,” Freeman said. “However, saving human lives outweigh the costs.”

According to CNN, the majority of the nation’s states oppose welcoming Syrian refugees. This news comes after the Paris terrorist attack, in which one of the suspects is believed to be a Syrian refugee. Schierman said although some violent people will be allowed in, there will also be people who are ready to give to society.

“The refugees are not ignorant or uneducated. They have a lot to contribute,” Schierman said. “Historically, the reason America is the superpower is due to drawing the greatest brains from around the world.”

According to junior Austin Hales, refugees should not be admitted into the country, due to the threat to American safety.

“If we become involved too much in Syria, it would give the Islamic State a reason to attack the United States,” Hales said.

According to sophomore Shawn Zousel, due to a recent shooting in San Bernardino California, people are becoming increasingly antagonistic against Muslims, the religion to which most refugees from Syria belong. Schierman said the people of America need to avoid that viewpoint.

“Once we live in fear, we are going down the wrong path,” Schierman said.

Freeman said that though the United States needs to accept refugees, it needs to recognize its limitations.

“It’s tough to know what amount of refugees to accept. There is a certain carrying capacity,” Freeman said.

Schierman said his own family is comprised of refugees, and the United States needs to act and give Syrian refugees an opportunity for a better life.

“My great grandparents were dirt poor peasants that moved to this country,” Schierman said. “They gave me the opportunities I have today.”