Refusing to accept refugees is un-American

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2015

We are fortunate to live in the U.S., a country founded as a democratic republic. Our republic is on a journey of democracy — a human struggle for the shared life of community. Democracy can be described as a way of living and working together based on freedom, equality, justice, and mutual respect.

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants and refugees, many of whom came here fleeing violence and persecution. The Statue of Liberty in New York was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the U.S., and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

A large group of Syrian citizens of multiple faiths have been repeatedly subjected to bombardments by the Assad regime and assaults by ISIS terrorists. After witnessing torture, rape, and murder, many have escaped this inhumanity by fleeing to neighboring countries, and to welcoming European nations. The U.S. is preparing to accept 10,000 of these refugees in 2016 through a careful screening process taking between 18 and 24 months.  We can welcome these Syrian people and ease their suffering — or we can turn our backs.

Republican governors and legislators want to close our borders to these refugees in a short-sighted effort to protect American lives. If they really want to protect Americans, they should enact reasonable gun laws, fund our infrastructure, protect the environment, and insure health care access to all – including women.


Gretta Van Bree

St. Joseph