“Yearning to breathe free”

Over 11 million people have been forced from their homes in Syria since the war started in March of 2011. And over four million women and children have fled the country. They’re living in neighboring countries of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, who are struggling to carry the influx of people.

We’re approaching the five year mark of this conflict, and those millions that have been displaced are still living in UN camps.

With the recent attack on Paris, members of US House and Senate want to shut the country to Syrian refugees.

Do they even know the process of how someone gets accepted as a refugee into the United States? Its not like they just board a plane. The vetting process alone can take nearly two years. Tourists to the US don’t even experience a background process this complicated.

According to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report, only 2,370 Syrian refugees have come into the United States since 2001. That’s less than the entire student body at my university.

And not a single refugee since the 1980s has committed a “terrorist act.”

I’m proud to be from a state that wants to keep its borders open to Syrian refugees.

The United States has long been known as a country for opportunity, known as “The Great American Dream.” Generations of immigrants and refugees came to the United States in search of something better.

Down to its simplest form, the pilgrims were refugees.

We are a country of refugees. And our doors should remain open as such.

People are worried that the US will be in danger by letting Syrian refugees in. And yet they won’t talk about the injustices within our own borders like racism, and mass shootings.

Closeup_statue_of_libertyThe Statue of Liberty has long since been seen as a symbol of the US and what it represents.

In 1883, Emma Lazarus penned a sonnet called “The New Colossus.” It was placed on a plaque inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903.

And some of its most famous lines are often associated with the United States:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Our country more than any other should have its doors open. Its been a major part of who we were since the very beginning.

And its wrong to let one act change our minds.


 

If you want to know how to help Syrian Refugees from the States, here’s two links to get you started:

6 Groups to support to help Syrian Refugees

Charity Navigator and its section on the Syrian Crisis

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