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A glimmer of American hope fades for Syrian refugees

A Syrian family stays on the street where they have been sleeping in Izmir, Turkey, while they attempt to reach Greece by boat on Sept. 3, 2015. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.
A Syrian family stays on the street where they have been sleeping in Izmir, Turkey, while they attempt to reach Greece by boat on Sept. 3, 2015. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

America needs to lend a helping hand to Syrian refugees.

We have always prided ourselves as being a beam of light in a dark world. America saves these people, liberates this country, and so on. It’s a narrative we oftentimes sing ourselves to sleep with.

So it’s hard to comprehend that when hundreds of thousands of people desperately need some glimmer of American hope, a significant portion of our population outright refuses to give it to them.

It’s estimated that 4.2 million Syrians have been displaced as a result of the civil war that has ravaged the country since 2011.

Out of that staggering number, the U.S. has only admitted 2,290 of them as of Nov. 30, according to Time Magazine.

Much of the backlash and controversy surrounding Syrian refugees stems from America’s Islamaphobia problem. Syria is a predominantly Muslim country, and many Americans have polled that they would only allow Christian refugees inside their border.

But are we really that low and paranoid of a country that we’d deny aid to those in need based on a religious litmus test?

President Obama’s proposal to grant a larger portion of refugees asylum was snarled by Congress, who passed legislation that demanded an unnecessarily thorough background check process.

Other countries have pledged to offer asylum for even more refugees, among them Germany and the UK.

Even France, in the wake of a savage, ISIS-orchestrated attack on their capital, has committed itself to helping refugees.

So it’s hard to understand that 31 U.S. Governors have announced that any Syrian refugees would not be welcome their state.

But we can make comfortable policy decisions half a world away, when others are literally running for their lives from a conflict that we had a hand in sparking.

The United Nations estimates that around 2,600 Syrians have died in sea voyages alone. That’s 2,600 too many.

What many of us fail to realize is that the people we fear coming into our country are exactly the people these refugees are running from.

Even if the enemy of our enemy isn’t our friend, we are essentially aiding the Islamic State’s goals in the Middle East when we refuse to aid those they seek to displace.

It’s not enough that we keep spending billions of dollars on humanitarian aid in Syria. We have other agendas in Syria beyond just offering help.

Our Administration and its intelligence assets have dedicated themselves to a crusade against Assad’s dictatorship in Syria.

But all the money we spend fighting a regime we deem dangerous could be spent on the men, women and children who actually need the help.

The situation in Syria is a complete mess. And it’s not getting better. Instead of aggravating the problem, we need to focus on alleviating the damage done to the most important element — the human one.

We cannot call ourselves the good of the world, we cannot be the country that others look up to when we turn away their downtrodden.

We need to demand better of ourselves.

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A glimmer of American hope fades for Syrian refugees