Featured Resource: Life is Precious (PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)
After growing up amid violence in the Middle East, Rojie Malki Hajjar had to learn how to become a regular American teenager.


Do Now

If a large group of refugees were to suddenly move into your community, would you welcome them or would you have some serious concerns about them being there? #DoNowRefugee

How to Do Now

Do Now by posting a video response in this week’s Flipgrid.


You can also post your response on Twitter or in the comment section below. Be sure to include #DoNowRefugee in your tweet.

Go here for more tips for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.


Learn More

For decades, the United States has been the world’s top resettlement destination for refugees, with roughly 3 million admitted here since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. But as Pew Research notes, refugee admission rates have fluctuated over the years, including an almost complete shutdown for three months after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

On January 27, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order suspending the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days and cutting the maximum number of refugees allowed into the U.S. each year by more than half. It indefinitely bars all Syrian refugees, thousands of whom continue to flee their country’s bloody civil war.

Announced as a national security measure to protect the U.S. from terrorist threats, the president’s actions instantly unleashed a global outcry and fierce protests. It has also resulted in multiple lawsuits and scenes of chaos at airports around the world, where travelers have been detained and held in legal limbo.

On February 3, a U.S. district judge temporarily blocked the seven-nation ban, and allowed travelers with valid visas to resume entering the country. The judge’s ruling also temporarily reversed the ban on Syrian refugees and the prioritization of religious minorities. On February 9, The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this decision, ruling against the government’s argument that the suspension be lifted for reasons of  national security.

The 1951 Refugee Convention makes a distinction between refugees and migrants, who are defined as people who make a conscious decision to leave their countries to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Unlike migrants, most refugees are eligible for protection and support from the United Nations and its member states, though each nation has its own distinct rules and restrictions regarding the numbers of refugees they will allow to enter, and the level of support they will provide.

Accepting large numbers of refugees has never been a particularly popular option among the U.S. public. In a Pew Research poll, 54 percent of registered voters — and 87 percent of Trump supporters — said the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept refugees from Syria. As Pew notes, “U.S. public opinion polls from previous decades show Americans have largely opposed admitting large numbers of refugees from countries where people are fleeing war and oppression.”

Around the world, immigration policies vary: Germany and Canada, for example, embrace immigration and recognize the positive impact immigrants have in their societies, while in the U.K., British leaders plan to reduce net migration following last year’s Brexit vote.


More Resources

INTERACTIVE: “How Many Refugees Does The U.S. Actually Let In?” (The Lowdown)
Learn more about the statistics behind U.S. immigration policy.

VIDEO: Portraits of an Immigrant-Filled Nation at Walter Maciel Gallery” (KQED Arts)
More than 100 artists created portraits of immigrants and displayed them in the shape of the American flag. Learn more about the project and what each portrait means to the artists involved.

ARTICLE: “Young People Less Likely to View Iraqi, Syrian Refugees As Major Threat to U.S.” (Pew Research Center)
A recent study found that older adults were far more likely than young people to view the large number of of refugees from Iraq and Syria as a major threat. Read more about other ways the issue is dividing the nation.

VIDEOS: “New Americans: Stories of Immigration, Identity and Community Through the Eyes of Teenagers” (PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)
This collection of student-produced videos feature the perspectives of young immigrants from around the world.

 

  • joshua lewis

    What is happening in Syria is horrendous, Syrian people are being forced from their homes, displaced without many options for survival while their country is in a state of civil war. If a large group of Syrian refugees moved into my community I would absolutely be hopeful for them and accept them for who they are. If I was in their shoes, I would expect other countries to understand my situation and accept me for having nowhere else to go or turn to. Accepting a larger number of refugees into American communities is completely possible because the Obama administration had already accepted thousands of refugees into various states and communities, so we know it has worked. Assuming that all refugees we accept into the United States are in fact refugees, than I can see no opposition in shouldering the cost of this 21st century crisis from my perspective. As a result of this crisis spinning out of control and additionally to the United States accepting refugees, I believe that more still needs to be done and the time is now for safe zones in Syria because even with Europe accepting millions of refugees, there are still people who cannot travel long distances to reach safety as well as the refugees not accepted into refugee programs. (http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/now-time-safe-zone-syria-0) This Foreign Policy Initiative website gives great insight and support to how implementing safe zones in Syria can directly help end the crisis. In the long run, accepting these refugees now will create bridges towards peace, and might come with some risk in the beginning, but will promote good future relations for our generation and the next. #DoNowRefugee ##MyCMSTArgs

    • devinn bradford

      I agree with everything that your saying but I do not think the United States should intervene with things that are going on in other countries.

    • Hannah Fulks

      I completely agree. I think that the United States can and should be more involved in helping refugees. The United States has let in some refugees, and keeps record of every entry. You can find more information here: https://www.state.gov/j/prm/releases/statistics/ #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • devinn bradford

    I would welcome any refugee into my community. I feel as though if you did not want refugees in your community, that is surely discrimination in my eyes. We can not judge someone off of past history or stereotypes. Everyone deserves a better shot at life and who am I to take that away? There is a fine line between accepting refugees but also accepting too many refugees where it becomes a problem with the government. #mycmstargs #donowrefugee

    • Ryan Sotelo

      While I see where you are coming from, I cannot say that I completely agree. Discriminating against refugees is a horrible thing, and surely shouldn’t be supported. Some communities have issues of their own that they need to handle and by adding a large amount of refugees into the mix might make more issues on both ends. This isn’t to say they don’t deserve to seek asylum, it just means that maybe not all communities are able to support refugees. #myCMSTArgs

  • Ryan Sotelo

    If a large group of refugees were to move into my community where I grew up, I would be supportive of them trying to take refuge, yet I would be concerned for them and my community. In my hometown there is already a large homeless population that we have been trying to combat for years. According to Pew Research Center 31% of 18-34 year old people think that refugees are a major threat as of January 2017, while 61% of 65+ year old people think refugees are a major threat (Smith 2017) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/03/young-people-less-likely-to-view-iraqi-syrian-refugees-as-major-threat-to-u-s/ . While I am supportive of refugees seeking a safer and more stable life, I would be concerned that Humboldt County might not be the best place for them to flee to. The county already struggles with jobs, wages, and housing prices along with an already nation high percentage of homeless people. While I would not be worried that the refugees would be a threat to the county, I would be worried that Humboldt might not be that helpful of a place to seek asylum. #myCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugee

    • Dollie Partida

      I like how specific you were to the reason why your community would be unable to do so. Yes helping refugees is a very good thing but like you said sometimes certain communities are struggling on their own and unable to help. I also found the data interesting. I wonder why the rates are so different from each other based on age. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Jacob Lux

      I agree with what you’re saying about Refugees migrating to places where they will feel safer and have a more stable life, but I disagree with not letting them into certain cities that are already struggling because you never know if they could actually improve the standing of that city. I believe that is a similar belief that Trump has about Syrian people which is the wrong idea. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Dollie Partida

    If a group of refugees were to move in into my community I would be supportive of them. I live in a very small town near the bay area. We are a very family based community. We do support each other and our community. Personally I wouldn’t mind and I think it would be a humble and human kind ting to accept them. They are just like everyone else. As the student said, “life is precious and every life matters”. California is the state that has been the most welcoming to refugees.You can find more info in this article http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/09/19/in-the-u-s-most-syrian-refugees-are-being-resettled-in-california/. I have faith that my community will gladly accept them and if my community is really what they try to define then they will say yes. Nevertheless there is some parts of town where people are very patriotic and less accepting of others. That is where I fear for them. I think they will be out numbered but it’s still something I would fear for them that can possibly happen. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Hannah Fulks

    I am fully supportive of refugees entering into my community. I strongly believe that refugees should be able to come into America, due to the fact that their homeland is a horrifying place to be right now. Syria is in its 6th year of this gruesome war, and this war has created about 5 million refugees, and another 6 million displaced Syrians. You can find more information in this article https://www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/syria-refugee-crisis-war-facts
    I hope that the United States will continue to accept as many refugees as humanly possible, as this tragic war affects the lives of so many. I want the United States to do as much as we can, and not look back on it thinking “what if”.
    #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Olivia DuBay

    I would most certainly welcome refugees into my community. When one considers the hardships that a refugee seeking political asylum has gone through, it becomes extremely easy to welcome them in and allow them some comfort. As it was said in the PBS interview provided, “We were afraid to go to school and it became very common to hear gun shots being fired as we went to sleep”. To know that a child is going to sleep at night to the sounds of people being killed is very unsettling and hardly a soothing lullaby. In the article, “How Many Refugees Does the U.S Actually Let In?” we come to understand just how many thousands of people are being affected by President Trump’s essential “Muslim Ban” (as it has come to be known). Roughly 110,000 people were predicted to be entering the country in the 2017 Fiscal Year under the previous administration’s policies, but after President Trump’s order, less than half of that (50,000) will be allowed in to the country (Green, 2017, para. 7). That is 60,000 less people being granted asylum. 60,000 people being subjected to the cruelty of terrorism. “In early January, 46% of the public said “a large number of refugees leaving countries such as Iraq and Syria” was a major threat to the well-being of the U.S. About a third (35%) considered this a minor threat, while 16% said this was not a threat” (Smith, 2017, para. 4). I am of the 16%, I believe that it is not a threat to let those who have been the victims of violent acts of terrorism into this country to allow them a fresh start. It has never been the goal of this country to exclude those of a certain religion, in fact, we were founded on the basis of freedom from religious persecution and to not allow Muslims from those ordained seven countries is to say that we are not the free country we claim to be.

  • Kayla Murphy

    If refugees were to come into our country, I would be supportive of them. I would be welcoming because I know that if that was me, I would be scared and nervous. I would be concerned for my community though. We don’t want over population,
    and if we let in refugees, we risk that, which would hurt everyone. “Announced as a national security measure to protect the U.S. from terrorist threats, the president’s actions instantly unleashed a global outcry and fierce protests.” (How Many Refugees Does the U.S. Actually
    let in?) The government is trying to protect us from terrorist attacks, which is smart on their part, but it isn’t fair to the people that come here with
    good intentions, like visiting family. I know that it can be dangerous to have open borders because of over population, loss of jobs, and a decrease on natural resources, but is it fair to leave out good people just because we’re
    scared of the bad? I personally don’t think there is a right answer, I believe everyone should be treated equally, but we don’t want our people to get hurt either. Maybe a solution to this would be to not let them live here permanently,
    but maybe to visit and they would need background checks to come here. I think that people should have a right to see family and be a part of a different culture because we’re allowed to visit their countries, so they should be able to do the same.

    • Joshua Lewis

      #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs I agree with your point of view on this topic. There is definitely a cost benefit analysis to the Syrian refugee crisis happening, and in order to keep America safe as well as help aid this humanitarian crisis, the United States needs to take a firm stance on assuring its citizens that the refugees that they choose to select in are in fact refugees of war and not isis cells. Thoroughly vetting refugees is a necessary method for accepting them and reassuring the American public that the Syrian refugees are in fact displaced persons of war is crucial for the federal government to do for the future of our country.

  • Emma Lynn

    The subject of refugees has been quite fragile lately. With Trump’s new 90 day ban many people are debating over whether or not we would accept refugees into our communities. I believe we should accept refugees with open arms. Many people’s greatest fear is that refugees will be a danger to them. As Samantha Smith stated in Young people less likely to view Iraqi, Syrian refugees as major threat to U.S. “In early January, 46% of the public said “a large number of refugees leaving countries such as Iraq and Syria” was a major threat to the well-being of the U.S. About a third (35%) considered this a minor threat, while 16% said this was not a threat.” (Smith, 2017, para. 4). Many American seem to believe that refugees are a threat to us when in reality “And although the purported rationale of suspending the refugee program is to prevent potential terrorists from entering the country and harming Americans, there have been strikingly few refugee-related incidents in the U.S. In fact, of the more than 800,000 refugees resettled since 9/11, only three have been arrested on terrorism-related charges.” (Green, 2017, para. 13). Refugees are very unlikely to be a real threat to us as a nation. Along with them not being a threat think of the kids who had to grow up in those nations of war. “After the war you were really restricted, going to school would sometimes be dangerous.” (Hajjar, PBS). The kids living in these nations can’t even attend school daily to the fear from war. They are the victims, and wasn’t the U.S.A founded by those who wanted to protect the innocent? It is our job to try to help those living in fear, and if that means welcoming them into our communities then that is what we should do.

  • Katelyn Olson

    If there was a large number of immigrants flowing into the country, I would be fully supportive. On the other hand, if there were a large number of immigrants flowing into my community, I don’t know if I would be so supportive. Although I realize it is wrong to think down of refugees, I don’t sincerely think it would be good for Northern Michigan. I believe the immigrants should move somewhere where there is a more diverse group of people. As Rojie Hajjar said, “It was very hard to make friends in the beginning” (Life is Precious). I believe it would be an easier adjustment for immigrants to be welcomed into a community with people who understand what they are going through. Northern Michigan would not offer that. I feel as though the community does not have enough experience with immigrants to welcome them into our town. The community members only really know what we have heard from the news, most small-towners have not met an actual Middle Easterner to be able to have a good or bad experience with them. I also believe the same can be said about age groups, Samantha Smith shared data with us that showed the older crowd tends to believe Middle Easterners are a major threat to our country (Young People Less Likely). Because the older people have seen more international violence, they are more likely to believe Middle Easterners could be a major threat to our national wellbeing.

  • Maxx Nichols

    When faced with the question, “Should we accept refugees?” it is difficult to come out with a straight forward answer. All of us have an abrasive side and a soft side. My abrasive side is telling me that we should not allow people from terror prone countries into the United States until we get a handle on the threats and acts of terrorism. My soft side, on the other hand, says that we should allow people to come here to seek asylum from their country. Matthew Green states that “The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in the 2016 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016), according to data from the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, the largest number of admissions since 1999. Nearly half of all refugees in FY 2016 came from just three countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and Burma (Myanmar)” (Feb 4, 2017, para 13). If about 40,000 people are coming to the United States from terror prone countries, there is definitely a possible threat to our national security. I believe that Trump’s ban is necessary for the time being, so that we can figure out a way to allow innocent people to come live the American dream, and leave the “bad apples” out.
    A majority of people in the US think that Trump wants to completely stop immigration; that is not true, “Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and barred entry by Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also temporarily blocked people from Iraq, Syria and five other countries in the Middle East and North Africa from entering the U.S.” (Samantha Smith, Feb 03, 2017, para 3). Until we figure out what is best for us, this is only necessary. People also need to realize that there are people in our own country that need just as much help as the refugees. PBS News Hour stated, “Life is precious, it is the most valuable thing we have” (Feb 10, 2017) which I completely agree with, but other countries need to step up and take some refugees too.

  • Kevin Reichlin

    The question of whether or not I would welcome refugees into my community is much too complicated and deep for a simple yes or no answer. I am well aware that we as a nation are very divided on this topic, and that some are worried about what President Trump will do and has done while others praise him for his actions and his ideas. The truth is that I would have to give great consideration to this question on a case by case basis.
    In the article, Young People Less Likely to View Iraqi, Syrian Refugees As a Major Threat to U.S., the statistics were, “In early January, 46% of the public said “a large number of refugees leaving countries such as Iraq and Syria” was a major threat to the well-being of the U.S. About a third (35%) considered this a minor threat, while 16% said this was not a threat.” This demonstrates that the majority of Americans do see the mass intake of refugees from the middle east as a threat, and President Trump realized this and did something about it. Many in the media criticize his executive order to ban refugees from six countries for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. Whether you agree with his order or not, you have no choice but to admit that there are severe risks in allowing these people to enter the United States.
    These people are coming from war-torn, terror-prone countries, where fighting age young men are susceptible to indoctrination from ISIS. ISIS has told the U.S. several times that they will disguise themselves as refugees to infiltrate the U.S. I take my security very seriously, and therefore take this as a threat, and if we as a country are threatened, should we not do everything in our power to stop our citizens from being killed by terrorists.
    In the video, Life is Precious, Rojie Malki Hajjar says that they weren’t allowed to leave their house sometimes, is it then right to force Americans to stay indoors if fighting begins in our streets? These are questions that are often ignored by the mainstream media that need to be answered is we are to stay safe as a nation.
    I also watched the video, Undocumented Dreams, where the illegal immigrant is allowed to stay in the U.S. as long as they eventually go to college or join the military. These people, no matter how well-intentioned, broke our laws, and should be punished as such. We cannot allow for illegal immigrants, or “Undocumented Immigrants,” as the media often calls them, to keep breaking American laws, then rewarding them with citizenship, schooling, and jobs.

  • Devra Athanasiadis

    Would I Accept Refugees Into My Community?

    “ We came here because america provides opportunity and possibility…”(hotchkiss, whalen, 2017) is what immigrants from all walks of life believe; that America is where you go to persue your dreams and life aspirations. The way I grasp the immigration reform debate at the moment is that the ban Donald Trump has put into place was an act to heighten national security, and that is understandable. Yet, some of these people are trying to get out of war thrown countries and come to this amazing country we have, to better themselves and their families. I would accept refugees into my community, into my home because my home is safe, my community will help them. Their communities cannot help them or do not have the supplies to better them as we do here in my home. The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in the 2016 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016), according to data from the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, the largest number of admissions since 1999.(Green, para. 15, 2017) That is almost 85,000 people who have legally entered the US under a refugee status to have some safety, sanctuary and opportunity. Our economy and education systems probably feel this moment more than anyone else, yet we have the tools to provide for them to help them. Yes, it’s not ideal, but for these people it’s saving their lives, it’s the least we could do. “Without immigrants I wouldn’t be here”(hotchkiss, whalen, 2017) Without immigrants most of us wouldn’t be here. America is based on immigrants, and was founded, if you can’t recall, by British refugees- seeking opportunity and possibility to better themselves and their families. Besides the fact, Overall, the share of adults who said refugees from Iraq and Syria posed a major threat fell by 9 percentage points between April 2016 and last month, especially among younger adults.(Smith, para.8 ,2017) We see that these people are the the extremist that emerge, that these are moms and dads and sisters and families. These are families just like my family and yours. We need to help the families in trouble around the world.

  • Megan Griffes

    Megan Griffes

    Would You Welcome Refugees to Your Community?

    When it comes to refugees, I have some compassion, but I do not want them flooding our country. In A KQED video, someone says that “Every life matters” (Life is Precious, 2017) and that is more than a true statement. Although every life matters, that does not mean that the United States should have to take care of everyone. People are abandoning their homelands and depending on other countries for support, this can also mean danger for any country that they are fleeing to, a danger I do not want in the place I live. Trump’s ban on the seven Muslim countries was an action to protect the United States from harm, after many recent terrorist attacks while Obama was in office, terrorism fears among the country have been heightened. (Green, para. 13, 2017) These attacks happen in regular towns like my own, and naturally that strikes fear into my soul. Although it is nice and kind to protect people from other countries, people have to start asking themselves if it is worth the risk of bringing that same danger into our own community. If this continues, every country has the potential to become just as dangerous as the muslim countries where the war is actually taking place. Trump’s ban was not one people tended to agree with, young people that is, one source said “A majority of adults 50 and older (58%) viewed the large number of refugees from nations such as Iraq and Syria as a major threat.” (Smith, para. 6, 2017) This is evidence that people are ignoring. The older generations that have witnessed history and have seen more change around the world than any of the younger generations see a threat. History repeats itself and we have over half of the people who have witnessed real history telling us this is a threat yet we still want to be nice. So no, I would not welcome refugees and danger into my community with open arms.

  • Devin LaFond

    I would support letting refugees into my community, but only to a certain extent. I think that people who are in need of safety should be able to find solace in our country, but letting too many refugees in could screw with the community already in place, it could cause people to flee from their communities, specifically whites would flee from their homes. Plus there is a difference of migrants and refugees. Refugees are forced to leave from hazardous situations while migrants willingly choose to leave (Green, 2017 para. 5).
    Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and barred entry by Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also temporarily blocked people from Iraq, Syria and five other countries in the Middle East and North Africa from entering the U.S (Smith, 2017) Limiting just migrants over limiting refugees is a much better idea, and though we may not feel responsible for accepting refugees from places like Syria (Green, 2017 para. 6), we should accept some because it’s the right thing to do. Rojie Hajjar from the video had witnessed horrible things and had to deal with very dangerous situations, when he fled with his family to America, it was hard for him to adapt at first, but he became what you would think of as an every day teenager, he says that “as we grow up, we have to realize that every life is precious, it’s the most valuable thing we have (PBSNewsHour, 2017).” Taking these words from him, we should try and save lives by accepting refugees who are fleeing from very hazardous situations to help save their lives.

    • Ciana Bell

      Hi Devin, I agree that we need to be cautious regarding how many refugees enter our country. Helping others is extremely important, but we have to do so in a way that does not harm our country and our people in the process. The struggle with accepting some is how do you decide which ones come and which stay? I think that we should work to find alternative ways to help the refugees without bringing them into the U.S. I sadly cannot say how as I am not well versed in politics, but I think that there are ways to help without adding to our countries population. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Hannah Warren

    Hannah Warren
    2/13/17
    If a large group of refugees came into my community, I would welcome them with a big smile and tell them they are finally safe. Rojie Malkihajiar is a refugee who said that there were times were he could not go to school because it was not safe or when he was going to leave his country, he said ISIS started to shoot at them. (PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, 2017) On January 27, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order suspending the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days and cutting the maximum number of refugees allowed into the U.S. each year by more than half. (Matthew Green, 2017) When Trump made his executive order, I was not sure how I felt towards it. I know he is trying to make the United States a safer place for everyone but what about those people trying to get away from war and violence in their country. As Pew notes, “U.S. public opinion polls from previous decades show Americans have largely opposed admitting large numbers of refugees from countries where people are fleeing war and oppression.” (Lowdown, 2017) I do not disagree with them because I know Americans do not want to take on other countries responsibilities but I do believe any citizen of any country should have a place to go to escape war and violence. It does not even need to be the United States but somewhere where refugees can go and not fear for their lives. Rojie Malkihajiar said, “Life is precious” and I totally agree with him, you only have one life and you should live it to its fullest.

  • Mason Buck

    I would welcome refugees into my community. Across the world, there are terrible wars raging. These wars often put civilians in harm’s way rather than soldiers. In too many countries, people are persecuted because of religion, sexual orientation, or race. Thankfully, the United States is much safer from these human rights atrocities, but if we refuse to allow others the same liberties, we cannot call ourselves leaders of the free world.
    An overwhelming majority of refugees are simply escaping persecution. “In fact, of the more than 800,000 refugees resettled since 9/11, only three have been arrested on terrorism-related charges. And no refugee has committed murder on U.S. soil in a terrorist act.” (Green, 2017) Why do we want to keep refugees out if they do no harm? If America wants to stay respected, we must be the role model for the rest of the world. The number of people fleeing oppression isn’t going to change, and we, as a nation, must step up.
    Some say that refugees flood into our country, and we have no way to know if they are terrorists or not. This is flat out false. The United States has an extremely tough and through vetting process for potential refugees. “the United States has one of the world’s most intensive refugee admissions procedures. The process can take at least 18 months, and includes a thorough review by numerous federal agencies, background checks, in-person interviews, health screenings and, for some refugees, cultural orientations.” (Green, 2017)
    Refugees that do find themselves in America, the transition is difficult. “My friends still now, they tease me about it. They’re like ‘Aw I remember you in 7th grade when you went by the name Roger,’ Which is not my name. I had to tell people, ‘No, that’s not my name.’” (Hajjar, 2017) America needs to change the way it thinks about refugees. It is 2017, it is time to evolve into the leaders the world needs.
    When we have no meaningful reason to prevent refugees access to the United States, we are not only going against morality, we are going against American ideals. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Jefferson, et. al., 1776)

  • Jack Guirey

    Yes, I would welcome refugees into my community. I, like everybody I know in my community loves America and what it stands for. As long as America has been there have always been fleets of people moving to America for a better life. To these migrants and refugees America stood as a symbol of hope for a better life. The United States historically, compared to all other nations, taken in the largest number of migrants and refugees (Green, 2017, The Low Down). I would happily take in refugees into my community because as a loyal American citizen I feel as though it is my duty to represent and embody the best of what America stands for. Many people who object to this say however that it is not logical for us to let in refugees from such violent and extremist areas because we could be allowing for an Islamic terrorist to enter unknown. This however is extraordinarily inaccurate. Due to its current civil war Syria accounts for the second largest number of refugees entering the United States as of last year (Green, 2017, The Low Down). For this reason, coupled with the fact that large areas of Syria are controlled by the Islamic terror group ISIS, the United States has had in place an intensive vetting process for Syrian refugees that in all normally two years. The vetting process includes a thorough investigation by the UNHCR (United Nations High Council for Refugees) to determine whether or not the applicants qualify as a refugee, and if they do the UNHCR sends said person’s file to the host country with additional information which includes biometric data, biographical data, geographical data, and data on the person’s history (Green, 2017, The Low Down). The extent to which Syrian refugees are vetted, to me, is very extensive and should be to any reasonable person a good guarantee that the family of refugees moving in next door are not terrorists but just normal people trying to make a good life for their family.

  • Cody Wright

    Due to complications in other countries such as war and terror as seen in the video above (Featured Resource: Life is Precious (PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)
    After growing up amid violence in the Middle East, Rojie Malki Hajjar had to learn how to become a regular American teenager.), I would be very accepting of the people coming to our country. Unfortunately, our world is not as pretty as I would love to see but that still doesn’t take away our need to help people in those tough situations to give them a chance to prosper and escape danger, as it is a basic human right. I would however like to add that national security needs to be just as much of a priority as letting refugees into our country, so we can our citizens safe and our new refugees safe as well. Donald Trump’s plans were not well thought and violated parts of our national security as seen in the Learn More section (par. 4th lines 3-5), however a better system should be put in place to secure and reinforce the U.S. refugee program. Refugees that have entered our country have made great lives, raised families, and have done great things as seen in the video below the Learn more section. (VIDEO: “Portraits of an Immigrant-Filled Nation at Walter Maciel Gallery” (KQED Arts)). I would love to see more refugees come to our country and do great things.

  • Collin Kingma

    Would You Welcome Refugees into your Community?

    “For decades, the United States has been the world’s top resettlement destination for refugees, with roughly 3 million admitted here since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980 (Green, para 1).” We are very different from other countries from around the world. Some could say that we are better than all the other countries. This makes our country very desirable for people born outside of it. Us who have lived here since birth have really hit the lottery. Not everyone has had this luxury and that’s why other countries envy us.

    We have to walk in those people’s shoes. How would we feel if we were being locked out of the country known for hopes and dreams to come true? That would definitely crush your hopes and dreams. Isn’t that ironic? I say yes to the question. They have fought for a long time to escape their life at home. Some have been close to death. Letting immigrants and refugees into the country will bring good. More diversity is always a good thing.

    Of course not everyone thinks like me. “Accepting large numbers of refugees has never been a particularly popular option among the U.S. public (Green, para 12).” This has been very true according to recent voters. This has become one of the biggest topic in politics. “In a Pew Research poll, 54 percent of registered voters — and 87 percent of Trump supporters — said the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept refugees from Syria (Green, para 15).” This topic really predicted on how you voted. We were voting for two extremes in this situation.

  • Mallory Dixon

    I would let refugees into our community. I would try to support them for who they are, although I do think that they could also be a threat to our community. If a large group of refugees moved into my community I would be hopeful for them and accept them. I think about putting myself into their shoes, I would want others to accept me and understand that I have nowhere else to go to. According to the man in the audio, he grew up in violence in the Middle East and had to learn how to become the average American teenager. He said, “life is precious” (PBS News Hour Student Reporting Labs, 2017). This is true, you only have one life and with that you should be able to live without fear but some people deal with fear everyday. To come to a community like ours and for them to feel safer would make me a little happier to knowing a couple more people at least feel safe in an area that they live in.

    Many people in our community also believe that refugees harm the community. But according to Matthew Green, “Of the more than 800,000 refugees settled since 9/11, only three have been arrested on terrorism-related charges. And no refugee has committed murder on U.S. soil in a terrorist act” (Matthew Green, 2017). People think refugees are out there to harm but they usually don’t. They are getting away from the fear and harm from where ever they left. Also many of us hear what is on the news, in our same community someone probably hasn’t met an Middle Eastern refugee to have either a good or bad experience. Samantha Smith shows data with us that showed the older crowd tends to believe Middle Easterners are a major threat to our country (Young People Less Likely, 2017). Since older people have seen more violence they are probably more likely to believe that refugees could be a major threat to our community.

  • Kayla Stout

    Kayla Stout
    2/13/17

    Would I welcome refugees into my community? This is a question without a simple answer. In general I would say yes. “For decades, the United States has been the world’s top resettlement destination for refugees, with roughly 3 million admitted here since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.” (Matthew Green, 2/10/17 Learn More). This in itself is a positive fact because we should be proud of our free and developed country. The intrigue to come to the United States is skyward and it is good because we can be the catalyst for people to succeed and pursue their goals whether it be through a career or their life in general. Unfortunately, many people flee from their country to escape war, persecution, and other life threatening situations, and we should be a country who extends their arms to the needy. “It was really common to hear gunshots, like, it became really common to a point where we slept while there was fighting going around the city.” (Life is Precious; PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs). These children and families are seeking a safer, more prosperous life and we should provide them with the opportunity to find their place and strive. That being said, we need to make sure the people coming to our country are safe and without a history of crime and violence. This will ensure that we are maintaining our national security and that all who enter have pure and positive motivations for entering our country and developing a new life. “The order also blocked travel to the U.S. for at least 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim nations: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.” (The Lowdown: How Many Refugees Does The U.S. Actually Let In?). I do not disagree with this executive order because when it comes to protecting our country, we should take measures as such. Also, President Trump is not the first president to have temporarily banned certain groups. I think we should expand background checks on people to make sure they are safe, and bring people here legally. Since the visa process is so slow, it should be reformed so more people can get visas and be legal. In conclusion, I want to welcome refugees, safe refugees.

  • Gabriella

    If a large group of refugees were to move into my small town I would accept them. But everyone should also consider where these refugees are coming from. In Europe there have been attacks claimed by ISIS, and they say what those attacks were by people who claimed to be refugees in need of help. These days with ISIS we don’t know what kind of refugees we will be getting. Yes, 80% of refugees are women and children, but there is always a chance that someone might have the wrong intentions. There will always be a chance that someone bad gets into our country or community but how Rojie Malki Hajjar said “Life is Precious” (Life is Precious, Matthew Green, February 10, 2017).
    Younger adults or even teenagers don’t always see refugees from Iraq of Syria as a threat, which is true, even I myself do not see them as a threat. (Young People less likely to view Iraqi and Syrian refugees as a major threat to the U.S., Samantha Smith). Younger adults have not necessarily lived through many waves of immigration unlike older generations, all the younger generations have is people coming in illegally from Latin and south america. Also people that were born around the 2000’s do not really remember the tragic events of 9/11 while older people do. This event has affected many people’s opinions of immigrants and refugees from the middle east.
    I would accept refugees but everyone still has to be wary. “The largest number of refugees over the last decade have come from Burma (159,692) and Iraq (135,643)” (How many refugees does the .S actually let in?, Matthew Green, February 10, 2017). Iraq is one of the countries where ISIS is mainly based off of. The name ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. I still would accept refugees from these countries because there is lots of conflict going on, and families need help, but we all need to be careful. (334)

  • Emma Dunneback

    There is a lot of thought that goes into the question “would you welcome refugees into your community?” from my perspective. And truthfully I stand on two different opinions for this topic. I actually do support Trump’s idea of building a wall to keep refugees out, why? Because the U.S. has been through incidents where many loved ones have been killed for that very reason and if we didn’t let them in at all it would be something we would have to worry about. “About eight-in-ten Americans (79%) called ISIS a major threat” (Young people less likely to view Iraqi, Syrian refugees as major threat to U.S., 2017) After Trump announced the ban on refugees, “the president’s actions instantly unleashed a global outcry and fierce protests”(MAP: How Many Refugees Does The U.S. Actually Let In?, 2017) But I also understand that not all refugees are like that and they actually do need a stable place to live with their families and they come from unstable countries; And to be denied safety would be so upsetting to the families that are not harming us but the problem is we just don’t know.
    Rojie Malki Hajjar grew up in the Middle East where there was a lot of violence but his family got the opportunity to come to America where he had to adapt to the living. And he mentioned something that stuck out to me, “Life is precious”(Would You Welcome Refugees to Your Community?, 2017) is what he said and he is right. I believe i would welcome refugees into my community in hope that they would be like Rojie. Not all refugees are bad people and what we have to remember is they go through many years of paperwork and background checks to get into America.

  • Jacob Lux

    I personally would let refugees into my communities because of the many benefits that could come from it as long as these people pose no threat now or in the future. I think it is wrong to prohibit innocent people from entering our country only because they’re from a certain country or look a certain way. Syrian people have had it very hard due to the fact that it has been part of a gruesome war for many years now and has caused many civilians dead and/or injured. Donald Trump is in return maintaining his refugee and immigrant ban even though other presidents and prime ministers disagree as seen in this article, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/13/justin-trudeau-arrives-white-house-meetings-donald-trump1/, explaining how the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau disgrees with the new law and refuses to “lecture” President Trump about it. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Elaina Schupbach

    According to an early January survey this year,”Older adults were far more likely than young people to view the large number of refugees from Iraq and Syria as a major threat”(Smith, para. 6, 2017). These findings appear to be accurate because I am a younger person and I fall into the category that views refugees as mostly nonthreatening. And, according to The Lowdown,”For decades, the United States has been the world’s top resettlement destination for refugees, with roughly 3 million admitted here since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980”(Green, para. 10, 2017). I understand that immigrants and refugees can be very beneficial to a community in many ways. They introduce new ideas and cultures, as well as being a possible source of workers that fill jobs that other Americans are not eager to occupy. But on the other side of the argument, I can recognize that they have the potential to pose a minor threat to a community. This is because, among other things, they could change a community’s economic system as well as cause a higher competition rate for certain jobs. Despite these positive and negative aspects to having refugees join a community, it is still unfair for any group of people to be excluded from the country and banned from entering the U.S. In the video “Portraits of an Immigrant-Filled Nation at Walter Maciel Gallery” a woman states that,”He (her father) would be heartbroken to see people banned from this country based on where they are coming from”(2:18). I would be highly supportive to refugees if they were to enter my community, but it would be wrong not to allow them into the country in the first place.

  • Amelia Wagenschutz

    Yes, if a group of refugees were to come into my community I would accept them. I think that everyone should have the right to live a free and happy life. Rujie Hajjar a immigrant from the Middle East said in an interview, “After the war, it really wasn’t even safe to go to school anymore.” (Student Reporting Labs, 2017). He goes on to talk about how ISIS sent his family a letter basically telling them to convert their religion, flee, or be killed. No one should have to live in fear like this. With a new president in office, it is evident that there is going to be some major changes in immigration policies. Trumps new temporary immigration law has many people worked up.”That Mexicans are being threatened with deportation, and Muslims, of being shut out, it reminds me of the history of bigotry in this country.” (Hotchkiss and Whalen, 2017, para. 3). A artist and a gallery owner in Los Angeles teamed up to create a portrait of immigrants in the shape of a flag at the gallery. America was a nation built on immigrants and I am thrilled to see so many Americans rallying together in support of these immigrant people. My opinion on immigrants may have something to do with my age. “Older adults were far more likely than young people to view the large number of refugees from Iraq and Syria as a major threat.” (Smith, 2017, para. 6). This could be due to the fact that younger people tend to be more progressive thinkers or the fact that we simply are not affected by these immigrants as much as the older people who are working are. In conclusion, I think that immigrants should always have a place in America, in the land of the free.

  • Calvin Wong

    At first, I would be slightly skeptical if a large group of refugees were to suddenly move into my community. Not only are they refugees from a dangerous country where terrorism is a norm, but they are also strangers that would have recently moved into my community. However, I believe that I would be completely comfortable with my new neighbors after hearing their stories and experiences in life. Syrian refugees are just like any other group of people and we simply need to get to know them at a deeper level. We need to give the refugees a chance at life and freedom as many refugees are innocent and don’t deserve the life the currently live. In addition, immigrants throughout history have always economically benefitted the country; therefore, Syrian refugees would most likely be able to do the same. From benefitting the economy to saving lives, I believe that the Syrian refugees deserve a chance to enter the borders of our country and start a new life. Although it may take a while for citizens to get accustomed to the new refugees in town, I believe that time will reveal the benefits of allowing the Syrian refugees into the United States.

    • Darren Lui SHC

      I agree with your statement about feeling skeptical at first. People are skeptical about strangers and people who they don’t know all the time. However, once we get to know them, we start to create friendships and relationships with those people, and accept them into our lives. The same could be said for refugees.

  • Sean Hemmersmeier

    I would accept refugees in my community because they don’t pose a threat to my security. According to CNN no fatal terrorist attacks were cause by refugees from the banned countries, since security is the biggest argument against refugees and this article shows that immigrants don’t pose a major threat I think we should accept immigration. Refugees should be looked at while they are coming into the country to make sure they will be good citizens and because we do need some security when checking people into the country. Overall refugees do not pose a threat to security and help our society so I would accept them into my community.

    Source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/us/refugee-terrorism-trnd/

  • Jack Boomer

    I think it is pretty clear that we should try to help these refugees any way we can. I think it would be pretty contradictory and hypocritical to have American troops in the Middle East and Syria trying to help the situation and not provide specific help to these families that really need it. One of the best ways to stop ISIS from spreading, I believe, is to help these families flea their precarious situations and to not be recruited to ISIS or killed instead. There should be a vetting process, however, for obvious reasons. There should be a vetting process for all people entering the country for the security of the country, not just refugees. Hopefully, we can all be welcoming to new Americans as they come to our great country.
    http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/02/13/514966051/for-refugees-and-advocates-trump-immigration-order-stay-leads-to-disarray
    http://time.com/4663317/syrian-refugee-women-cook-food-restaurant/

  • Ciana Bell

    I think that if a group of refugees came into my town I would be pretty skeptical to accept them. I always want to help others and be there for others when they are in need, but it is hard to let refugees into our country and help them when there are so many americans who are also in need of help. I do feel that our first priority is helping those who are already here before we let more individuals in. I understand that the areas that these refugees are coming from are dangerous and that by the refugees leaving that they are trying to escape the danger that constantly surrounds them, but we need to be cautious when making the decision on who and how many individuals to let in. Our country is already heavily overpopulated, and adding to that population could be detrimental for Americans that have been here forever. I think that we should try to find alternative ways in helping the refugees without adding to our countries population. I have provided a link to a refugee statistic site that shows how many refugees have entered in the past and has some further information on trump’s plans to lower the number of individuals welcomed to our country. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/category/refugee-statistics/

  • Cheresa Li

    If a group of refugees came into my town, I would honestly be very comfortable to accept them. It is for the same reasons that you wouldn’t talk to strangers you meet on the street. However, there is no doubt I would accept the refugees after understanding their back and listening to their stories. I would always want to help others when they are in need. I believe that the majority of the refugees that are fleeing their country are innocent and deserve to be helped. They should be allowed to have the freedom that they were stripped of when they were in their home countries. I believe that the refugees deserve to have a second chance. As a country that is built on the idea of diversity and immigration, we should be one of the many countries that are opening up their borders for these refugees. How would you feel if you were rejected from a country that was supposed to be filled with the hope of living your dream?

    • Brandon Biermann

      I have to agree with you on most of what you are saying, they should get the freedom that they deserve. It is true about our country is founded on diversity and immigration, but what you also said that there are a majority of those who are innocent. Those one percent that may not be innocent are the ones that may ruin it for all of the other refugees. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugees

  • Darren Lui SHC

    If a group of refugees came into my community, I would be completely fine with them moving in. It wouldn’t be a significant change in my community anyways, since San Francisco is a very diverse city with many different ethnicities, religions, cultures, etc. People have to understand the word refugee, and know its different from invaders who are trying to takeover your job or town. Refugees are people who are fleeing places of war, oppression, and hardship. They are just seeking a place to start anew, and to have a better life. Those people who are worried that refugees are taking over their jobs, and those who are uncomfortable with accepting them into their communities most likely are unaware of what they are escaping from and their life story. I’m sure if everyone understood the refugees’ story, and why they want to come to our community, they would accept them with open arms.

    • Grace Gerberich

      I completely agree. Welcoming refugees into my community I believe would be be such a benefit for them as well as us. It opens so many different opprotunities for them to ease their way into our way of life, whether it involves jobs and integrating them into our society. They should have the same chances and freedoms as we do. #CMSTArgs #DoNowRefugee

  • Arlan Ng SHC

    If a group of refugees were to come into my community, I at first be concerned about the large number of people moving into the city, but then be fine with it because I live in San Francisco, a city known for its diversity and the constant large amount of people moving in and out of the city. As a welcoming person, I would be fine with them living in my community. I do not see them as a treat because they are regular people like me, just trying to live peacefully in the world. We do not know what situations these refugees have been through so we cannot judge them just based on their appearance. We have to understand their situation before coming to a conclusion about them because I believe that they would do the same with us. A group of extremists cannot decide the identity of millions, like how the president does not represent America as a whole. There are many aspects of America that make us different from one another and this is the same with other countries. We do not even know if it is the people of that country that are causing harm, it could be people from other countries trying to pass themselves off as someone else just to cause trouble. In the end, we have to accepting of everyone and, until we can understand a person’s situation, we cannot judge them based solely on appearance.

  • Brandon Biermann

    If refugees were to relocated to my community, I would be torn between accepting them with open hands, but also have that slight what if situation. I am an individual who cares a lot about people and always trying to help others, but in this type of situation I cant seem to not feel a bit of hesitation to welcome these people. It is more of a safety issue for the rest of my community that I would be concerned about because you cant guarantee this peace from these immigrants that you don’t really know them. In this article,https://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown/2017/02/03/refugees-in-the-united-states/ it states about only 33,000 refugees have been accepted in since the new year with 17,000 more arriving in the next couple months. In retrospect this is a small amount of people compared to what people seem to actually think about the number of refugees coming across. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugees

    • Roxanne Galdos

      I understand your hesitation that you share with many others who are asked the same question. But I think it’s important to remember that these people are fleeing their home country (Syria specifically) because they are in the midst of a war zone and are looking for a peaceful place to live. So many people are scared of “terrorist” being relocated in the United States but honestly you have a better chance of being struck by lightening twice than having a so-called terrorist move in next door to you. The refugee screening to enter the US is a very rigorous process that can take months, that usually allows people who can contributed to the American society/economy (people with desired skill sets/degrees). Studies have also shown that US cities that have relocated refugees see an economic growth due to them increasing the demand for goods and services along with revitalizing declining populations. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Stone Dennison

    This situation my perplex many, with a ethical and logical stance that may be conflicting. One’s ethical side may think well these people aren’t here to cause any danger, they are here to escape a bloody civil war. Advocates like these tend to state that these people are harmless, and although most of them are it does come with a level of uninvited risk. One may appeal to the logical side and hate the idea and be scared for their life, we are quite far from 9/11 but our parents raised us with this fear of middle eastern countries, this fear is installed in us just like our grandparents racism was installed into our parents. Is this fear of middle eastern countries justified? It all depends on who you ask, liberals and conservatives are torn on the subject. Opinions are only a difference of those who watch Fox or those who watch CNN. If this happened to my community, which I doubt would being a RED county.. I would sit in the background and see what happens! #DoNowRefugee #myCMSTArgs

  • Justis Haruo Kusumoto

    http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html
    If you click on the United Nations Refugee Agency link provided above, it’s obvious that we have no choice other than to welcome refugees. As of 2015 there are, according to the UN, over 65 million people that have been forcibly removed from their homes, and of them 21.3 million are designated as refugees. The KQED article pointed out that the United States has previously been a leader in accepting refugees. If we embrace the racist and short-sighted doctrine of the Trump administration, we will not only be rejecting these refugees; we could be contributing to genocide. Where else will they go? For many-certain death. According to the aforementioned linked UN article, 53% of these refugees come from 3 countries, one of which is Syria. Do we want history to judge us as shortsighted populist xenophobes or will we continue to be the “shining city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan and Presidents before us envisioned.
    Many experts in the state department and aid organizations have asserted that refugee vetting is so comprehensive and sophisticated that refugees pose minimal threat to our safety. See the Washington Post article attached on this link which details how comprehensive the vetting process currently is: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/26/trump-says-syrian-refugees-arent-vetted-we-are-heres-what-we-went-through/?utm_term=.110b1a78f02f
    As the KQED article pointed out, we’ve accepted over 3 million refugees since the vetting process was outlined in 1980. But the vast majority, if not all terrorist attacks on US soil have been committed by foreign nationals or homegrown terrorists, not refugees. Violent crime has been on the decline dramatically since 1980, along with terrorist attacks on US soil (with the notable exception of 9/11, which was executed by foreign nationals who were most certainly NOT refugees).
    If you’re one of those morally challenged individuals who couldn’t care less about refugees-and I can’t convince you with humanitarian, security, and American nostalgia appeals, think of it this way—refugees can provide cheap labor, which is great for the economy, which in turn benefits your own selfish consumerist needs. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Emily daily

    the question asked is “would I let refugees live in my community?” the answer to that for me is yes I would let them because its a stereotype to say all Arabic people are terrorists. anyone can be a terrorist so why must you judge them all so quickly. in an article attached to this question http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/03/young-people-less-likely-to-view-iraqi-syrian-refugees-as-major-threat-to-u-s/ it states “Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and barred entry by Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also temporarily blocked people from Iraq, Syria and five other countries in the Middle East and North Africa from entering the U.S.” but yet when the 9/11 attack on 13 out of 15 of those terrorists were from Sudi Arabia yet our president is against terrorism yet wont ban them because of an oil trade so if you will let them in we should let all arbic people who want to come to the united states come.

  • Adrian Astorga

    The question to be answered is if I would let refugees live in my community? I would say yes. Even though it would be a tough transition I think on both parties I feel that since I am welcoming them into a better community and a safer environment. One thing this question reminds me of is a recent incident that happened in Oroville, California. Recently there was a scare of their dam breaking and flooding the town, however in they were able to come and stay in Chico until it would be safe for them to return home. I actually went to volunteer for them this past week. Even though it is not the same reason for leaving I feel I would be welcoming as I was for the flood evacuees. https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/02/13/californians-open-homes-oroville-dam-evacuees-fleeing-floods/21712988/ #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

    • Mackenna Neal

      I agree with you on allowing refugees into the country. I also like how you compared it to the Oroville Dam situation. Everyone in the community came together, opening their doors for those who needed it. Refugees that are victims of war in the parts of the middle east are in the same predicament. Even though most Americans do not speak the same language, eat the same food, or worship the same God, we are all human beings. That should be enough for us to open our doors we did for the people of Oroville. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Julia Boswell

    If a large group of refugees were to suddenly move into my community, I would welcome them with an open heart. Many Americans live in fear over the possibility of these refugees being terrorists. This assumption isn’t all that true. America is seen as a safe haven for these people who are fleeing their dismantled countries. They are looking for somewhere to go where they aren’t in constant wonderment whether today will be their last day to live or not. It seems to me that a lot of us Americans are not taking the time to put ourselves in their shoes. We fail to remotely imagine what their lives must be like confined in their own fear all day and all night. America is the land of the free, where so much hope and possibility is presented. Though, I am not sure that we will be able to say this for long. Our new pride will be that America is the land of the fearful, where selfishness and suspicion are found around every corner. Bad things happen, there is no denying this. But, these bad things that happen – including terrorism – cannot be fully prevented due to the differences that appear in human nature. We all think as individuals, and people don’t think the same in terms of believing whether violence is necessary or not to make an impact. With these terrorist attacks, a generalization has been made that people of certain religion or race are all possible terrorists. This generalization creates a whole new kind of separation between people of different races and religions. For example, a White Christian will automatically become suspicious or even nervous if an Indian Muslim were to be in the same room as them. This is the most sad thing of all, because people no longer have the same trust anymore due to this corrupted image formed by what we associate with evil. I think it is unbelievably unfair to see a refugee as a potential terrorist. I will trust a person until they give me a reason not to. Refugees are just normal people who are trying to start over, and if we aren’t willing to give them that chance, what does that say about us?

  • Mackenna Neal

    There is no doubt that I would let refugees live in my country. The executive order that banned immigrants from seven specific countries from entering the U.S, does not protect the U.S. at all. In fact, it actually makes this country more vulnerable to threats and attacks. Banning people who live in certain countries, who are in most cases, peaceful friendly humans, only makes them feel isolated and un welcome by Americans. This creates the perfect storm for radical organizations, ISIS, to draw in more recruits. The travel ban has given those kinds of organizations free propaganda saying that Americans do not like you, so come join us. This is bad, a plan that was created with the idea of keep America “safe” is only making it more dangerous. People should not be afraid of immigrants and refugees from those seven countries, they should be afraid of U.S. government and how they are making American more susceptible to attack. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugee

  • Eric Ascencio

    This has been a very controversial subject for many years here in the US. Our country is a melting pot made up of many different cultures and people from different countries it is hard for one to imagine that we would not let refugees into the country. I have to agree with the fact that banning people from certain countries is the best thing to keep our country safe. In 1980 The United States opened our doors to thousands of Cuban refugees and it was a disaster. All of these people came to Miami and we knew nothing about any of them and people lied and said they weren’t criminals and said they wanted to come here to work and to live the American dream. Well it turns out that a many of the refugees were criminals that had been released from jail and from mental health institutions. This story may sound familiar because this is what the Movie “Scarface” was based off of and some of the things portrayed in that movie really happened. When refugees come to this country its had to do an extensive background on every single person that comes. I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t want bad people and criminals coming into this country and causing more problems than we already have. Im not saying every refugee is a criminal or a bad person I am simply stating the fact that many of them could be criminals and I don’t want to risk the lives of Americans for people that are having issues in other countries. There is a whole world out there an there are plenty of other countries they could go to. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugee http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/castro-announces-mariel-boatlift

    • Michael Thompson

      Respectfully, I disagree. It is our problem by virtue of a shared humanity. If you were in their shoes, trying to get your children out of harm’s way, how would you feel if countries’ turned you away by saying, “Sorry, it’s not our problem.” These refugees in particular, are people fleeing the Islamic State. If you fear the lives of Americans are at risk, take a look at statistics quantifying how Americans typically die. Then compare those to the odds that you’ll die at the hands of any Islamic terrorist, much less a Syrian refugee. How many white people have walked into theatres, campuses, clinics, government buildings, churches, and started firing? How many guns kill people a year in the U.S. period? If risk to Americans is the issue, then you should be looking at the threat of domestic terrorism as well. And before somebody brings up 9/11, let me ask one more question: why wasn’t Saudi Arabia included on Trump’s list when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi? There’s a link at the bottom to the Dept. of Homeland Security’s intelligence report about how specific citizenship is an unreliable indicator of terrorist threat. Lastly, let’s all remember that it is sheer dumb luck that we were born in America, and not in Syria.
      #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugee

      http://apne.ws/2lSKNUo

  • Michael Thompson

    I would support refugees in my community. I have been following this story for a while, and I think that many Americans’ fear is cultivated from the sensationalist media. There are is one statistic out there that has been reviewed by several different research scholars that puts the odds of an American dying at the hands of a Syrian refugee at 1 in 3.6 billion. More importantly, it is extremely easy to ignore human suffering when you are so far removed from it. I venture to say that if you were in the same room as a refugee family fleeing the horror of the Islamic State, you would have a much more difficult time turning them away. It would require you to say: I’m sorry but you and your young children just can’t come in. It’s time to put away fear, and place yourselves in their shoes. If refugees came to Chico California, I would welcome them. In the end, thoughts and prayers doesn’t save lives; people do.

    http://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2017/feb/01/ted-lieu/odds-youll-be-killed-terror-attack-america-refugee/

    #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugee

    • Christiana Manzanares

      I agree with you Michael. It is crucial for us as Americans to allow refugees into our country. It is simply the right thing to do. I liked your point on how it is very easy for Americans to ignore human suffering because we are so far away from it. I think that Americans do this very frequently and pretend that just because it’s not happening here that is not happening anywhere else. And that is just not true. We need to take action and welcome refugees into our country. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowRefugee

  • Christiana Manzanares

    I think I would support a large group of refugees coming into my community. These refugees are humans just like us who are fleeing their own country because they feel and are unsafe there. Who are we as Americans to tell them that they cannot come here to be safe. I don’t see why refugees would be this “huge” problem for America. Banning refugees from coming here isn’t protecting us at all. We need to learn how to open our doors to people in need.Like Rojie stated all human life is valuable and precious. In this article https://tcf.org/content/report/why-america-could-and-should-admit-more-syrian-refugees/ it explains how resettlement can actually help both to meet humanitarian needs in the region and advance the U.S. strategic interests. It also explains how resettling more Syrian refugees quickly and equitably we, will win a moral victory, which in turn will help it persuade allies to do more to help resolve the Syrian war and the attendant humanitarian catastrophe. I agree with both of the statements above. I think that we need to be open to having refugees come to America and welcome them.

    #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

    • Kanako

      I felt impressed with your comment “These refugees are humans just like us,” and I totally agree with you. I guess this is one of the biggest problems in the U.S. these days, but I think we need to reconsider our current situation. Also, the article you raised in your comment is very interesting to me! Thank you for sharing the article! #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Kanako

    I think I would definitely welcome a large group of refugees. I’m not a refugee, but like Hajjar, I also had some cultural problem when I started to live in the U.S. And such problems made it difficult for me to get along with American people around me at first. However, I now have many people who understand my background, and despite such cultural difference, they are willing to talk to me always. Therefore, I think I could accept refugees just like what such precious people usually do to me. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

    • Juan Benitez

      Kanako, I completely understand what you are talking about. Although I was not a refugee either, many people still tried to treat me differently just because I knew how to speak Spanish and I had a different cultural background. However, I learned to live with it and started to combat being treated differently by taking it as a good thing. I say this because it makes me unique and I should be happy about it.#DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

  • Juan Benitez

    I would willingly accept a group of refugees into my community, I would treat everyone of them like I would treat anyone else. It is also nice to see more diversity in my community, it helps stir the already huge melting pot that we call the U.S. Also similar to the young man in the video, I was treated differently when I was younger in elementary school, because of my spanish name and my darker skin. Therefore I would make an effort to make refugees feel welcome in my community, and to make sure that they aren’t treated differently. #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

    • Zachary Trovatore

      I agree with you. There are both good and bad people in all countries/states/communities, but we should not subject the good ones to discrimination just because we are at conflict with the bad ones. Refugees can be a huge benefit to our society as a whole.

  • Zachary Trovatore

    A refugee is defined as a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. America was built on freedom and the pursuit of happiness. America should not discriminate acceptance into our country based of race. It is one thing to have background procedures for safety protocol, but refugees above all others should have the utmost priority.http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/whats-the-economic-impact-of-refugees-in-america/ states, “For the U.S., on net, it’s positive, because there are gains when people come, add to the labor market, add skills and generally, earn less than what they can contribute to the society as a whole.” We should not consider the entire populous of a country as bad when we are at war with only a small percentage. Refugees want freedom and happiness as much as we do!
    #DoNowRefugee #MyCMSTArgs

Author

Matthew Green

Matthew Green produces and edits The Lowdown, KQED’s multimedia news education blog, an online resource for educators and the general public. He previously taught journalism at Fremont High School in East Oakland, and has written for numerous local publications, including the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. Email: mgreen@kqed.org; Twitter: @KQEDlowdown

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