Should the US accept Syrian refugees?

Yes, absolutely. This is the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII. Of course we must have the toughest screening process possible, but I worry that calls to end or pause our refugee resettlement program are misguided. Refugees are currently subject to the absolute highest level of security checks of any category of traveler coming to the U.S. - with special criteria in place for those coming from Syria on top of the normal procedures. Getting admitted as a refugee generally takes more than a year and a half and involves signoff from numerous agencies including the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the State Department and the Department of Defense. It's not easy to come into our country as a refugee, at all. But the notion of ‘no Syrian can ever come here' is antithetical to our values – especially when the innocent civilians and families seeking refuge in our country are fleeing the very violence and terror we saw in France and Lebanon that they experience every day in Syria
I have heard a few reasons why the U.S. should accept them. I don't consider any of them convincing. For example:

1) There are many Christian terrorists who have killed people. Why not let Syrians in?

I don't see any relationship between the two items. We have to reduce the risk of terror attacks regardless of where it comes from. Christians are already here- we don't have a choice whether to accept them or not. Second, ISIS is a sworn enemy of the U.S., and has make good on its boasts to attack non-Islam entities. They have stated that they will infiltrate the immigrants with ISIS members who will commit terrorist attacks. That is a totally different scenario from terrorists who are already here and whom we don't have a choice to let in or not. Finally, you are looking to reduce terrorist attacks in each independent case. One example doesn't imply any logical connection to the other example. If Christian terrorism goes down significantly one year does that mean extreme Islam terrorism will go down, or vice versa? Of course not. Because there is no connection. As I said earlier we need to reduce the risk whenever we can.

2) It is profiling, and that is bad.

Yes, it is profiling, and profiling, to a large extent, is NOT bad, and is omnipresent. You ever read academic studies about social or psychological phenomena? Guess what? They are predicting human behavior based upon evidence. That is profiling. You have car insurance? If you are under 25 years old and live in the U.S. you will be paying more for it, because statistically you are more likely to get in an accident. That is the auto insurance company profiling you. There are stereotypes and profiling all over the place, and most of the time it is done to better organize our resources or learn more about society. Two important things to remember about profiling, however, is that you need to have the correct profile characteristics, and also realize that there are many, many exceptions to profiling. For most individuals who are innocent and profiled, they should just deal with it. I have been profiled at airports. it has cost me a few extra minutes. Big deal. In other cases, like when a black person is constantly stopped by police in a white neighborhood, this is very prejudicial in my opinion and a situation which needs to be addressed, though not in this answer.

3) The Paris attacks were mostly done by citizens, not immigrants. Therefore, letting immigrants in should cause less of as problem.

How does one use this argument to support allowing immigrants to come to the U.S.? This proves that there is a lack of integration into the local society by immigrants. And that it doesn't subside even after they have lived in their new country for a while. There are significant issues of Muslims not integrating well into Western society. Yes, of course there are many that do. But on a relative basis, unless the media is sensationalizing it and distorting the figures, there is a conflict of cultures. Having French citizens commit terrorist acts does not strengthen the argument to allow immigrants, in my opinion, because immigrants will have a much more difficult time to adjust than people who have lived in the country for a while.

4) The U.S. was built by immigrants. We should be a nation that encourages this, not shut our doors.

The U.S. is a land of opportunity, in that it has the least number of barriers to overcome, if you want to succeed, than any other country. This is something to be proud of. As far as letting immigrants in, there were economic reasons why we had this policy. The land and resources were plentiful and we could support people to come, people who were willing to work, in order to make this country grow. We still do this, though the structure of it has changed significantly. We focus on Indians and Chinese, and let them enter far more easily than people from other countries. We have standards of education and income which determine the pecking order of who we let in. We just don't do it carte blanche any more.

Still, there is a moral obligation which we should uphold, based upon our history. For that reason, and for the reasons stated above, I feel that we should follow Canada and duplicate their policy. And that is we should let in Syrian women and children and families with children. Single men age 16-49 should not be allowed in.
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It is always a little strange to hear a question like this. I thought that the USA was built on premises that all people are equal and free, as a society open to ''huddled masses'', open for all oppressed people from around the World. Sometimes people forget how real human stories stand behind newspapers headlines. Real people in need for a safe shelter. The internet is filled with inspirational stories, worthy of some future movie, or a good novel.

''Doaa al Zamel, Hero of the Mediterranean
Doaa  al Zamel was born in south-western Syria. She was 16 years old when her  family decided to leave country because of war. They settled in Egypt,  but without a work permit, she could work for low wage only, as a  seamstress, to help supplement the money her father made. Life was hard  in northern Egypt, but she still had hopes. She was in love with another  refugee, Bassem, and they planned to go to Europe, where they would  marry and start a new life. Doaa didn't even know to swim, but still was  willing to embark on that dangerous route to a new, promised land.  Bassem asked her father for permission to marry her, and then he paid US  $5,000 to smugglers, for a one way ticket on an old boat.
There were 500 people on that boat, sailing from Egypt to Greece.  After four days, September 10 2014, their vessel was approached by  another boat. Smugglers from that boat commanded them to switch to  theirs, a smaller rusty boat. When immigrants refused, they started  throwing pieces of metal and wood at them and curse their captain. The  attackers then circled them and used their boat as a battering ram,  making a huge hole in the side of the hull. They shouted "Let the fish  eat your flesh", and laughed while the ship was sinking. The ship sunk  within minutes, taking 400 people into the deep with it. Bassem found a  life ring and helped Doaa to move away from sinking ship.
A hundred survivors gathered, praying for rescue. As the next day  came, some of them lost hope. "One man took off his own life vest and  sank. Some died of fear, some of cold. The weather was rough". A  Palestinian approached Doaa and Bassem, handing them his 9-months old  granddaughter, Malek. "Please take the baby. I'm very tired". Then he  let go and gave his life to the sea. Day after that, Bassem also lost  his strength. Doaa begged him to hold on to their hope, to future, told  him that they will make it... He could only say "I'm sorry my love, that I  put you in this situation. I have never loved anyone, as much as I love  you". Then he released himself and drowned in front of her eyes. Later  that day, a mother approached Doaa, handing her 18-months old girl,  Masa. Her older sister just died, and the mother knew that she must save  this one. She said to Doaa, "Please take this child. I will not  survive". And the mother drowned.
She was in cold water for four days, unable to swim, terrified of  water, taking care of two hungry, thirsty and scared babies. On the  fourth day, one merchant ship passed by, and miraculously, they saw her  in the water. Unfortunately, little Malek died in the boat's clinic, but  Doaa and Masa were taken by a Greek helicopter to the island of Crete,  where they were saved at the hospital. They are two of 11 survivors, out  of 500 people from the refugee boat.''

The answer to this question has proven to be incredibly controversial, especially after the Paris terror attack, with 31 American governors publicly refusing to grant Syrians refuge.

IN short: it's absurd to believe that Syrian refugees pose a danger. S0-yes, we should absolutely welcome them as they flee a horrible civil war and ISIS.

The general mischaracterization of refugees as a danger comes from a misunderstanding of what a refugee is. Many conflate asylum seekers with refugees and fail to distinguish between the vastly different mechanisms that America and Europe employ to accept refugees. The prime misunderstanding comes from failing to realize that American refugees aren't immediately granted refugee status and allowed to come to the United States. The imagery of Syrian refugees arriving on America's shores haphazardly and being allowed to stay is what many American people imagine. This notion emanates from Syrian refugees coming to Europe and registering as refugees there. Since Europe is much closer to Syria and because of the refugees' ability to cross borders more easily, which is still very difficult by the way, there is less time to screen them. Because the United States is on another continent, we don't have this problem with refugees.

The refugees that come to the United States first have to register with the United Nations, who only forwards the most appealing [least risky] cases to the Federal government. After that, these applicants are screened, interviewed, and vetted for what I believe to be an exceptional number of time-between 1.5-2 years. This is one of the most screened groups that comes to our shores.

This brings me to my next point- sending ISIS fighters into America as refugees is an asinine, ineffective strategy. Not only will it take more than a year or two, but there's no guarantee of being accepted. It is really difficult to pass the process. Presently, the public uproar is about granting refuge to 10,000 Syrians. This is a paltry number, to begin with, but the fact that it has stirred so much hatred and discontent is deeply troubling. A quarter of these 10,000 refugees are above the ages of 60, the rest are women and children, with only 2% of the entire group classifying as "military age males". There are currently millions of displaced Syrians, the number is around 6.5 million, thus making a group of 10,000 equal to less than 1%. America has a long and colorful history of holding xenophobic views towards immigrants and refugees. World War II and the Holocaust come to mind. Jews, Japanese, Mexicans have all been affected by this and some still continue to be.

Not only are we accepting an already paltry sum but this group poses practically no risk, in terms of terrorism, which is what the public seems to be worried about. I'm not even going to delve into the relative success of American assimilation, but we are much better at it than certain European states, e.g., France and the UK. It makes little sense to focus on the refugees and to see them as a source of literal terror- "they will come hear and behead us" is what I saw written by someone on twitter. This is hardly the case with the refugees. It is comparatively much simpler to come to America as a European citizen than to apply to as a refugee. It is inane to believe that these refugees will bring 'the scourge of terrorism' with them. Since 9/11, not a single one of the 745,000 refugees settled in the United States have been arrested for domestic terrorism. There was an occurrence in Kentucky, where two men were connected to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. 2 people.

Finally, one last appeal: My point is that this is  hardly a risky proposition and that we should remind ourselves of our values as a nation and not fall into the trap that terrorists seek to create. We must shun individuals like the Roanoke Mayor that talk blissfully of a time when we put Japanese-Americans into internment camps.

We cannot let evil change who we are as a nation.

I don't think we should. It's not that the other answers are wrong; they're not. The vast majority of Syrian refugees pose no serious threat to the general safety of US citizens. The United States is a large area with an abundance of resources. There is plenty of room for Syrian refugees to live.

However, I believe the US Federal Government should NOT prioritize the interests of foreign nationals over the interests of its own citizens.

Before you downvote, please allow me to explain.

The United States Federal Government (USFG) has a very simple purpose:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Blatantly, the USFG's purpose is to promote the general Welfare of its citizens, not to promote the general Welfare of the world or of foreign citizens.

In this respect, the USFG has no moral obligation to provide citizenship to foreign nationals seeking asylum. That is not its purpose. Furthermore, because the amount of annual immigration is limited both legally and practically, the USFG should only provide citizenship to those who can best improve the country's "general Welfare."

By committing itself to accept X amount of refugees without regard for their ability to contribute, the USFG denies entry to more qualified immigrants, thus prioritizing the interests of Syrians' over the interests of itself. If there is "plenty of room" available for Syrian immigrants, there is also plenty of room available for economically productive immigrants and the USFG should allocate that room to the later.

This is not to say that Syrian refugees cannot be productive. The argument is only that a policy that accepts immigrants purely on their refugee status necessarily ignores their capacity for improving the country's general welfare and should not be pursued.

A universally accepted free market principle is that need does not entitle anyone to anything. Just because you are hungry does not mean you deserve food. No one is obligated to give you any. Similarly, just because some individuals need a country to call their home, does not mean that the United States should grant them citizenship when doing so is at odds with its own interests.

I think not. I'll boil down my answer to a few basic tenets/facts:
  1. Caution before compassion. The first role of any government is to protect its citizens. The preservation of life is more important than offending people. Even an entire class of people. Even if it's by religion.
  2. We learned today that ISIS has the actual Syrian equipment which is used to produce Syrian passports and they've had it for quite some time and that they can produce fakes.
  3. 81% of the readers of Al Jazeera polled support ISIS. I think 1% who may make the jump to terrorism is a fair guess.   التصويت : هل تعتبر تقدم تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية في العراق وسوريا لصالح المنطقة؟
  4. We just suffered an attack in San Bernardino, the largest attack since 9/11. Paris before that. You know what was before Paris? ISIS instructing their followers around the world to stay home and just kill infidels where they are. A new phase of the war is brewing.
  5. It is a serious hazard. There is a  tremendous amount of hatred toward westerners coming from that region of the world. See this question and answer it for yourself:   If you had a jar with 10,000 M&Ms, but 10 of them were poisoned, should you eat from the jar? While the question is about M&M's, it was also posited as a way of imagining potential terrorists in a group of refugees.

Feel free to debate me in the comments.


There is no "background check." There is no database to check, and if there was a database there is no way to verify the person you are checking is who they say they are. The vast majority of Syrian ID cards and passports are forgeries. Anyone that says there is a thorough screening process is either misinformed or lying.

Terrorist Infiltration is real. We don't know how many fighters are amongst the refugees, but how many does it take? The Paris attacks of November 2015 were carried out by 9 attackers. Saying that some double digit percentage of refugees are military aged males is small comfort and doesn't prove anything.

More refugees are terrorist supporters than you might think. Immigration doesn't change how they feel about the politics back home, just look at the Irish Americans that supported the IRA even after generations hadn't set foot in Ireland. If you feel like we could somehow avoid importing the fighters, are you sure we aren't importing the recruiters, the financiers, and the logisticians? If we do import them it requires law-enforcement to build a case (rather than the military building a target package) to remove them as a threat and you, the taxpayer, gets to pay for their legal defense.

Many Terrorist organizations enjoy broad popular support in Syria. ISIS is not the only game in town. Al-Qaeda, Ahrar Al-Sham, Al-Nusra, all have some level of popular support among people that want to see and end to Assad regime and/or ISIS. There is no reason to believe that support would end simply because of refugee status.

Look at how awesome this working out for Syria's neighbors. Ether the refugees are going to start taking jobs from the host nation, or they are restricted to handouts. Quora Users aren't sweating losing their positions as software engineers, but the people that are labor competitors with the refugees will feel the squeeze.

Look at how awesome this is working out for Europe. Rising crime rates and no-go zones. The vast majority of the refugees do not want to assimilate to european culture, and the modern welfare state is providing for them a better standard of living than working did back in the old country.

This is a stupid, non-solution. The west's new answer to civil wars and terrorist insurgencies is to throw open the borders and welcome all comers to the social safety net? So what stops the terrorists, because this sounds like a terrorist's victory: damaging the west by financial and social means, periodic attacks from within the refugee population, and recruiting host-nation citizens locally for the international fight.

This question is based on the false dichotomy that we either bring Syrian refugees into this country, or we turn our backs on them.  That's ridiculous.  We can help them without shipping them thousands of miles from their country.  We can subsidize their welfare in countries willing to take them in, or we could create a safe-zone in Syria, and protect them from their government (who has killed far more of them than ISIL has) and from extremists.  The idea that we can only help them by bringing them here is absurd.

I find it amazing that people would argue that Syrian refugees pose no security threat at all when we've already seen in Paris that they do.  Yes, I expect that the vast, vast majority of them have no desire to make trouble and only wish to escape persecution and death.  However, giving that tiny fraction of extremists a free pass to come into and move freely about our country is a security nightmare.  And make no mistake, they can't possibly be vetted, coming from the chaos that is now Syria.  Senator Kane's assertion that it "generally takes more than a year and a half and involves signoff from numerous agencies including the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the State Department and the Department of Defense" is irrelevant.  If they have to wait until all that happens, it will be too late.  We're really talking about bringing these folks over in short order, and any "vetting" this Administration does will be no more extensive than their usual exercise of having the appropriate authorities sign off on the process without actually doing any work.

The true irony is that in 2011, this Administration decided that we had to take down Qadaffi because he might do harm to some of his citizens.  Despite the fact that he had no history of that kind of action and precious little capability to do so.  The Assad regime, on the other hand, did have a history of flattening their own cities to put down rebellions.  At that time, I argued with one of my War College professors that if we did Libya, we would eventually have to do Syria.  Well, inconsistent thinking being a hallmark of politicians, we didn't do Syria when it would have been easier, and now we have ISIL, a murderous Assad regime, a quarter of a million dead Syrians, a massive refugee problem, Putin and the Russians back making trouble in the Middle East, NATO and Russia on the brink of confrontation, and no US credibility left with the world.  Thanks for kicking the can down the road until it's become an overwhelming problem.
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