Affirmative

American Morals Require Acceptance of Refugees

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An ethical decision broadly, is any decision that affects other people. These ethical decisions are made on a persons or community’s morals. There are many morals that throughout history have been accepted as almost universal. Not taking life, being generous, being honest, and many more. There are also some that have become more accepted and universal in modern times for example that the natural resources of this planet should be protected and preserved. Though every individual and community will have most of these morals they will also have morals that are more specific to them. This specific set of morals that a community or individual has, is what guides their way of life. There are two things that must be thought of, does america’s decision on how to act on the refugee crisis have ethical implications and if so how does america’s specific set of morals apply.

What is an ethical implication? When you go to the grocery store and are in the dairy aisle trying to decide which whether to chose 2% or 1% does not have ethical implications. Now if you are in the same scenario and are choosing between milk that comes from a source that uses sustainable farming practices or one that does not then that decision does have ethical implications. It is important to realize that when looking at decision that your personal morals do not effect if something has ethical implications. The moral that one should protect the planet and it’s resources may not be in your specific set of morals at all and you may think this is important but the milk decision would still have ethical implications since it is affecting other peoples lives. Both sides of an issue tend to only see the implications that support their stances on an issue. So what are the ethical implications of the possible decisions on the refugee crisis? One ethical implication that the anti-refugee supporters tend to highlight is the fact the refugees could possibly endanger the lives of the community that accepts them. Though this risk is very small it is important to look at all ethical implications. Another implication that anti-refugee supporters highlight is that accepting refugees can hurt the economy and put a burden on social services making it harder for the community to take care of itself. The next implication that I want to highlight is hard for people to understand in america since this kind of situation is foreign to so many of us. That is why to show the ethical implications of leaving the refugees in the current location I am going to show you a video of what the refugees in Syria are fleeing from, though this video is important to see it is also highly graphic and may disturbing for some readers.

So it is pretty clear that there are the large ethical implications for america’s decision on how to respond to the refugee crisis. Then the question is what morals among America’s set of morals apply to this decision and how? Our founding father declared that one of the foundational morals that our country was founded on was that all people have a right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One of the first European groups that came to america was the pilgrims. They were fleeing a government that was restricting these right so they fled to a new place.

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There is no way to look at this without seeing that in the founding of america there was this established moral the people have right to flee from harm to a new place an better life. Through the years America has reinforced this moral that it must accept people from other places. This can be seen when america accepted millions of Irish during the Irish potato famine, people believed at the time that it would hurt the economy or have other adverse affects but still the refugees were accepted. That is because it is the only logical conclusion, if it is put forth that the core moral of america is that all men are created equal and that because of that they have a right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness. America was not founded on the belief that all american citizens are equal but that all men are equal. There have been times that america has ignored this core moral in order to help them selves or what they perceive as the greater good. Two of the worst examples were america forgot this core belief and either put economic prosperity or community safety (as they perceived it) before this core belief was the trails of tears and other interactions indigenous peoples and slavery. History has not looked kindly on these times were america has forgotten this founding moral that it was founded on. By this core moral, america has a moral obligation to help these refugees and to do so even at if it costs america. If this is still the core of american morality then this is the only option.

 

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Miscellaneous

A Syrian Family in the US

Take a look at this short video about one family’s adaption to the United States.

After having to leave Syria in 2012, they then moved to Jordan. Unfortunately, refugees are not allowed to work in Jordan and so they were losing money fast.

Then they learned that they were being resettle to the US in Rockford, Illinois. After an extensive two year process, they were finally able to come to the US. The family was overjoyed being as none of them have ever been to the United States before. “We hope that we do not disappoint you.” they said referring to Americans.

Although there have been difficulties adapting to life in the US such as transportation, language, shopping and learning how to use their appliances the family is doing well. All the children are in school, the whole family is learning English and the father Mufak, will soon have a job.

There is no reason to believe that refugees and Americans cannot live in harmony. Culture is not something that is set in stone. As can be seen with this family it is possible for refugees to learn and adapt to our lifestyle and in turn we could learn from them as well. Too often are refugees seen as threats when in reality most are families just like ours trying to live the happiest and safest lives they can.

One of the family members said that what he loved most about being in America is our laws. He loved the freedom and he loved the ability to be protected by our laws. It is things like this that we tend to take for granted. We forget that there are people that cannot do virtually whatever they would like as we can.

It is important to remember that there are families like this one out there that need our help. We should be providing assistance and love to them, what they are doing is not easy.

At the end of the video the narrator days “We contain multitudes which has always strengthened us.” This quotes reminds me of our country’s motto e pluribus unum or out of many, one. We are stronger and better when we join forces, there is no reason to deny people that want to join our country the ability to do so.

Miscellaneous

The Moral Dilemma

While there is no legal obligation for a country to accept refugees, some might argue that there is a moral one. In general terms people should feel morally obligated to help others in need so why should the situation with refugees be any different?

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When news outlets discuss refugees they tend to speak of their admittance into our country solely on the basis of national security. “Is it safe for our citizens if we let all these foreigners into the United States?” Rarely is the safety of the refugees questioned.

In an article written by a professor at Northeastern University, the discussion of the moral obligations to help refugees is discussed. The initial cause for the moral obligation to help refugees is in the knowledge that if they are not helped there is a large reason to believe that they will be killed.

The unfortunate reality is, this fact has not persuaded people that there is a real need to assistance. Instead, large Western countries will help to implement refugee camps in other countries or plan resettlements as long as it is not in their own country. The author of the article Serena Parekh mentions how these refugee camps are doing no good for the people that are supposedly seeking refuge in them.

Indeed, the situation is so bad in Jordan that people are choosing to return home to Syria rather than remain there. – Parekh

Refugees are choosing to live in a constant fear of death and violence rather than face what is supposed to be a safer place. The resources that the countries willing to host refugees have are no better than what the refugees already have access to. These countries that are primarily in the Global South need help on their own and require even more support to help the extra people that they are trying to help.

If the stronger Western countries were open to accepting more refugees themselves rather just providing resources, it would cut out the middle man and help even more people in need of assistance.

Refutation

Safety over Liberty? Let us refute.

According to Foward.com, the author argues that,

“…radical Islamists in the U.S. have primarily targeted Jews, Christians, homosexuals and other minorities, proper immigration precautions benefit every faith – including Muslims. The 3,000 innocent people murdered by radical Islamists on 9-11 included 31 innocent Muslims (and 300-400 innocent Jews).”

It would be more accurate to say that radical Islamists primarily target random civilians with the purpose of causing as much chaos and destruction as possible.

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“Nearly all of those who perished were civilians with the exceptions of 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement officers, 55 military personnel, and the 19 terrorists who died in the attacks”

The 19 highjackers who committed the atrocious acts on 9/11 were not refugees and to bring up the events of that fateful day so we can justify a possible unconstitutional travel ban is ludicrous.

“The purpose of Trump’s executive order is to establish a vetting system that protects all Americans from ISIS and other foreign terrorist infiltrators’ attacks. The order explains: “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program.”

While the executive order offers good intentions; of course we want to protect all Americans from terrorists attacks, the number of times a foreign national or refugee has executed a successful terrorist attack on US soil can probably be counted on both hands.

The San Bernadino attacks were carried out by US citizens.

The Orlando shooter was a US citizen.

Now one could argue that the Tsarnaev brothers were refugees, but they might have gotten off on a technicality.  Their parents arrived in the US on tourist visas and then later applied for political asylum, where the brothers then entered the US a few years later through the same means.

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(NBCnews.com)

“(For those curious: Asylum seekers apply for refugee status from within the U.S.; refugees seek it from their home countries.)”

One notorious account of an actual refugee committing acts of violence was the recent story of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somalian refugee who injured 11 people at Ohio State University last November.

Now you maybe thinking, AHA!  There’s one.  Yes, there is that one account.  So should we be shaping US law around the one incident a refugee committed an act of violence?

I don’t believe so.  I think the US is more vigilant than that.  We have a terrible amount of gun deaths in the US and yet we stick to our guns.  I can understand the notion that certain terrorist organizations would take advantage of our vetting process to sneak in perpetrators of violence, but like everything else, there’s risk.  We shorten that risk through a thorough vetting process already in place.

If we want to make America great again, let’s show the world how we treat those who need our greatness the most.

Miscellaneous

Comparing Refugee Policy

With only about a week into his presidency President Trump implemented these policies on refugees. He justified his executive order by stating that former President Barack Obama had done the same thing back in 2011.

“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”

In an article from The Washington Post, titled Trump’s facile claim that his refugee policy is similar to Obama’s in 2011 journalist Glenn Kessler looks at the truth behind this comparison.

first and foremost, President Obama did not in fact stop admission of Iraqi refugees into the United States. The admission process was simply delayed as a result of a more intense vetting process. Additionally, the more intense vetting process was adopted as a response to the arrest of two Iraqis in Kentucky.

President Obama was responding to a known threat to the nation’s national security. After an incident had occurred, the original vetting process was simply modified in order to prevent what had happened from happening again. The current ban is not in relation to any specific event or clear fact.

Next, it was never said that the Obama administration was stopping visa applications completely, just that it would be slowed. Even still, these delays were slight and went generally unnoticed to the public.

Finally, the 2011 situation did not prevent all citizens from Iraq from entering the United States–including green-card holders. There is no evidence that there was a clear halt to the admission of people from Iraq from entering the US.

In a test Kessler calls the Pinocchio test, Trump’s travel ban received three Pinocchio’s for these reasons. From this article it can be seen that Trump is having trouble justifying what he has done through the executive order. All he is trying to do is fast-track his claim that he will rid the nation of muslim terrorists, however this policy does no such thing.

Miscellaneous

Travel Ban Policy – Facts vs. Fear

The recent policies pertaining to refugees is makes it extremely difficult for anyone who needs to escape the harsh living conditions in their home countries. In this video from Vox, President Trump’s original executive order for the travel ban is explained.

The executive order is called “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” however this is not what the order is actually saying. The order bans immigrants and visa holders from seven primarily muslim countries. These countries include Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Iran and Iraq (Iraq has since been removed). The catch with this order is that none of this does anything for the United States’ national security.

There have been zero terrorist attacks by immigrants from any of these countries. Doctors, students and actors who have done nothing wrong cannot come back into the US even though they have a full right to be able to.

Although the order states that it will be in place for 120 days, Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely. This is not something that America has been known to stand for in the past. The United States was built on being a safe haven for people that can no longer survive in the countries they are living in.

Several celebrities have spoken out about the ban such as actors, singers, comedians and writers. Actress Angelina Jolie wrote an informative and insightful op-ed piece for The New York Times titled Refugee Policy Should Be Based on Facts, Not Fear. She discusses both sides of the argument in a way that it tasteful and informative.

I’m proud of our country’s history of giving shelter to the most vulnerable people. Americans have shed blood to defend the idea that human rights transcend culture, geography, ethnicity and religion. – Jolie

While it is justified to say that our country should be safe from the dangers of the world, there is no reason why the actions that are taken to ensure this safety cannot apply to others as well. It is important not only to the citizens of the US but of other nations as well that the policies that are enforced are based on facts and not fear; fear will not save anyone no matter where they are from.

Introduction

Elijah

I am so glad you have chosen to look at our blog. We will try to show how America can and should be doing more to address the current global refugee crisis. That to stay true to America’s vales this is the only course of action. I live in an area were there are lost of refugees living and have gotten to see there personal side of the issue and have been moved to try to as much as I can to help improve the situation through my actions and changing other peoples opinions of refugees. I studied Persian in college and have worked recently in both Arabic and Persian studies creating a personal connection to the areas that are currently seeing the greatest refugee creation. I hope by reading this blog we are able to help you understand more about the refugees and the current crisis.