We Do It Anyway
As you’re probably aware, Republican Party governors across the United States are declaring that they don’t want any Syrian refugees coming into their states because there might be a secret terrorist sneaking in among them, posing as a refugee.
It’s tempting to try to find empirical evidence to the contrary, to consult profiles of refugees to demonstrate their worthiness, or to point out that it seems most of the attackers came from within Europe.
But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ll agree with the Republican governors on one point: it’s possible that terrorists might sneak into the country posing as refugees. They might also sneak across the border. They might also immigrate as students. Terrorists might slip into the United States by filing for a green card as a family member of a citizen of resident. Sneaky bombers certainly could get into the USA by getting a work visa.
Most Americans, unlike these closed-minded Republican governors, welcome refugees despite some risks because we care about helping vulnerable, threatened people. We offer to help even though we could in a remotely likely sense be hurt. We are willing to take in victims of war not because it will benefit us without cost, but because we believe the benefit of a world in which people help one another is worth the cost.
That is what makes the decision to welcome refugees a moral one, and not strictly a strategic one. You’d think that a Republican Party that claims the territory of “moral values” and tries to push manger scenes onto government land would better understand. But to the contrary, the GOP seems more intent on turning away the likes of Mary and Joseph, erecting signs that declare “the least among us are not welcome here.”