Letter to the Editor

During the third Clinton-Trump presidential debate, Trump stated “[Clinton]’s taking in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, who probably in many cases—not probably, who are definitely in many cases, ISIS-aligned, and we now have them in our country.”

Trump is seen, again, referring to refugees as dangerous terrorists. This calls back to his campaign’s earlier comments about refugees as poisonous candy. On Sept. 19 at 6:41 p.m., Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a controversial presidential campaign ad that compared Syrian refugees to Skittles. The image was captioned “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?” This analogy is extremely racist, offensive and obnoxious. This tweet made a mockery out of the refugees and dehumanized them. How can one compare people running for their lives to a bowl of candy? The Syrian refugee crisis is no laughing matter: there are civilians being killed on a daily basis. Over 11 million people have either been killed or forced to leave their homes. These people are risking their lives in hopes of finding safety in other countries. Everyone has seen what atrocities are going on in Syria currently. The little boy who was washed ashore dead and the chilling pictures of the bewildered young Omran Daqneesh are clear evidence of the horrors of the Syrian crisis. These are the people Trump is deeming to be “poisonous” for America.

One of the main fears some Americans might hold about letting refugees into the U.S. would be the possible threat to our national security. These people fear that members of ISIS would take advantage of their refugee status and infiltrate into the U.S. to spread more terror. Trump is seen to be relying on the symbolic pathway of policies heavily. His campaign is swaying the public towards his set of views by playing on their fear of terrorism. He is exaggerating their fears. Syrian refugees should not be denied entrance into the U.S. just because of a few bad apples. According to the CATO Institute, “Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States, and none were successfully carried out.” The government doesn’t blindly grant people asylum, there are excessive security screenings and background checks of the potential incoming refugees conducted by the FBI and CIA. We should look past this issue and look at the greater picture of giving refugees asylum in our nation.

I believe that it is our duty to help others out; this is what makes us human. If we don’t help these people, who will? We claim to be the best nation in the world and pride ourselves on our freedoms. Our Declaration of Independence states that everyone is endowed with unalienable rights and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. America itself was founded by people who were fleeing persecution; this is exactly what the refugees are doing. If we truly believe in these ideas, how come we are not following through with them? Other nations like Sweden and Turkey have seemed to embody our nation’s beliefs more than us and have granted entry to a vast number of refugees. Everyone deserves to be safe and not be in constant fear for their life; after all the refugees have gone through, they deserve a chance at life and happiness.

Fatima Sajjad