The Refugee Dilemma

This whole situation sucks, big time. I think we can all at least agree on that.

Basically, there are two points of view from what I’ve gathered. On one hand, we have people saying don’t let Syrian refugees in because it threatens the security of American citizens. On the other, we have people saying America was founded upon basic principles of generosity, community, and benevolence and we should help those in need escape the war-torn calamity that is Syria.

Personally, I can understand both points of view. And to be frank, I’m not 100% certain how I feel about this whole thing. Its really panning out to be a lose-lose scenario, it seems. We’re essentially being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils – reject those in need of societal relief, or risk letting some radicals slip through the gaps and potentially allow terrible events to happen. People can make humanitarian arguments for both options, which is why this is such a cloudy situation.

The biggest concern I think I would have if I were a policymaker is how I would feel if I let refugees in and then have one of them launch a successful terrorist attack. That’s not to say I would reject them, but that would definitely be my biggest concern.

That said, ultimately the main objective for American leadership is the safety and security of its citizens. So it seems like the easiest way to approach this is to simply measure our priorities. Is giving oppressed and traumatized refugees a safe environment worth potentially allowing the homeland to be attacked? Because with the former, you have to accept the latter. Its that simple. So from an objective point of view, we can do one of two things: we can do a LOT of good by allowing them in while accepting the uncertain risk of a LOT of bad happening. Alternatively, we can reject the refugees and leave them to whatever fate destiny decides, assuring that we at least aren’t raising the odds of causing a terrorist attack due to our own actions.

Its a tough decision, no doubt. And as I said, I honestly don’t know what I’d do. But considering the job description for leadership I mentioned above, it would seem that the appropriate thing to do would be to protect Americans at all costs, and then worry about the rest of the world. If our humanitarian efforts have a positive effect on a foreign country’s inhabitants, but a potential negative effect on our own, that might be interpreted as a little twisted.

Ideally we would come up with a solution that serves as a compromise – but this seems increasingly less likely as the issue drags on. I know there has been talk about “internment” camps, which has gotten a lot of backlash due to the obvious parallel to the Nazi concentration camps. But I really don’t think the USA would run them in the same manner if they did decide to do it. I’m not saying that’s the best solution, but I think we should at least consider all of our options at this point. At the end of the day, all we’re trying to do is provide a safe, secure environment for the poor refugees who were unlucky enough to be born on the wrong part of the world. And if we need to isolate people in a well-run community to protect the safety of American citizens, so be it. Its not the perfect outcome, but our options are pretty limited here.

Anyway, like I said – this whole situation just sucks. And I hate how its causing even more division between people. Its almost like everywhere we turn there’s something going on to make people hate each other.

Enough of that.

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