Syrian Refugees Seek Asylum in European Countries
by Alexa Perlov on Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Senator Chris S. Murphy of Connecticut poses a question: “Do we think we make this country more or less safe from terrorism by showing a cold-heartedness to this refugee crisis?” Both he and I believe that the answer to that question is undoubtedly less.
Desperate to escape the violence and persecution that they face at home, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to Europe this year. Fifty percent of the 366,000 refugees that the United Nations’ Refugee Agency estimates crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this past year are Syrians. Sadly, at least 2,800 of these migrants died during their journey.
Upon arriving in Austria, one refugee recalled, as CNN reported, “We went through torture. We walked 110 kilometers [70 miles] with the children. They didn’t allow us to take cars or trains.” Thousands, having run out of options, must make this grueling trek across the Mediterranean. The refugees are facing unbelievable hardship and need all the help they can possibly get.
It is true that refugees are escaping to countries that often have their own problems to deal with. Greece, for one, is struggling economically and only continues to fall into further turmoil with the addition of thousands of refugees. Unfortunately for struggling countries like Greece, more and more refugees arrive in Europe each day. Their numbers have increased by 750% since last year.
Still, government agencies in Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey, France, and throughout Europe have provided refugees with basic human necessities such as food, water, hygiene kits, translation services, maps, and more. Britain has even declared that it will take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.
Unfortunately, not all European countries have been quite so open and generous to the refugees. Denmark has increased its security measures to prevent refugees from getting into the Scandinavian nation, and, although the German government has accepted refugees, many German citizens have treated the refugees with hostility. At least 340 attacks have been carried out by right-wing individuals this year as an anti-immigrant sentiment settles upon German refugee camps.
The crisis continues and additional refugees flood into Europe. The world faces no shortage of dilemmas. In an effort to aid in resolving this crisis, President Barack Obama has opened the United States’ borders to the Syrian refugees, and has promised that his administration plans to take in at least 10,000 Syrians over the next year. I believe that Obama’s actions will be extremely beneficial for theSyrians and are a positive step towards an end to this mess.
Yet, some argue that by opening up our borders, Obama is allowing in “potential terrorists.” Peter T. King, a Republican New York representative, states that, “Our enemy now is Islamic terrorism, and these people are coming from a country filled with Islamic terrorists.”
Though threats of terrorism are certainly very real and nerve wracking, it is not easy for terrorists to penetrate American borders; refugees trying to immigrate to the United States must apply through the United Nations. In fact, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, “Refugees go through the most robust security process of anybody who’s contemplating travel to the United States.”
I believe that, because such high security measures have been established to ensure that we are not allowing anyone dangerous to cross our borders, Obama’s actions are a very effective way of helping the refugee crisis. We have a human duty to protect those in underprivileged positions. As mounted on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” That is what America is about.
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