Following the tragic attacks on Paris, many United States Governors decided that they would not accept Syrian Refugees (despite the fact they can’t legally stop refugees from moving there). Among these Governors included Iowa’s very own Terry Branstad (R-IA).

I understand that in the wake of the current situation in Europe, it would be easy to close our borders to those who are escaping Syria. But really it’s a dumb (and morally wrong) thing to do Mr. Branstad.

There’s this fear that the Daesh terrorists will decide to pose as refugees, get in America and attack various cities and communities. Heres the problem with that. America has one of the strictest screening processes in the world. Don’t believe? Heres the process according to the White House.

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Not only are the refugees adhering to the refugee process, but their also forced to go through an even harder test. From these screenings, 2,174 refugees have been accepted and another half have been denied, but a lot of those declined must have further screening and are still pending.

However, maybe the biggest factor is gender, age and marital status. The State Department has said that half of the Syrian refugees taken in have been children, while their adults are equally spilt, 2.5% of which have been over the age of 60. Only 2% are single males in the combat age range. We’re taking in families. These people are not interested in the destruction of the Western World. They just want a better life for their children. They hope and dream of better things to come. Just like we do.

(Another thing to note is the fact the whole process takes 2 years to complete.)

Jen Psaki, the director of the White House communications, tweeted:

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Refugees that are approved are placed in communities based on employment possibilities, family connection or community connection. Syrians are already in America. They’re ingrained in American the same way other minority groups are. 

What we should be concerned about are home grown terrorists. It is known that at least 3 of the Paris attackers were European nationals. It’s possible that their decision to attack was based on a feeling that a lot of European muslims feel – disenfranchised. Told on a day to day basis to go home, despite the fact that France is their home, they feel a lose of county ship. The rise of Hungarian Nationalist party, the Jobbik, anti-islam rhetoric in all countries, it’s clear that these people are mad. And while that doesn’t excuse their actions, it’s more ammunitions that fundamentalists can use in recruitment.

And it’s happened in America. Muslims leaving the states to join Daesh? Post 9/11, we’ve seen a rise in hate crimes on muslims. They’re trying to escape the radical right.

Being a grandson of an Immigrant who escaped war in Colombia, I have been so fortunate by this country. And when politicians like yourself spew xenophobic rhetoric, it’s an attack on my family. Ending opportunities for others is not the American way.

But think about this. On the eve of World War Two, the last time we had a large refugee/migrant crisis, 67.4% of Americans wanted to try and keep out Jewish refugees. The following years resulted in the genocide of millions, a few of which could’ve been prevented had America been willing to take in the oppressed masses trapped in Europe. We are watching a large bloody war taking thousand’s of, displacing millions. The difference is that the were on the eve, and we’ve been watching this war unfold for the past 4 years.

So I ask you, look past the smoke and instead look at the facts and what history has taught us. Keeping out legal immigrants but more importantly refugees is not the American way. We are a country of dreamers, and I dream that one day we can look back on history as see the right way, the American way, prevailed.




  1. David, your story underscores the heroic effort Germany is making–I wish together with you that the United States can live up to its standards.

  2. Well said. Excellent research, David. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of our own Prairie high school students that recently moved to the US from other countries. Maybe in the next Hawk Talk issue?

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