Speaking to the press on Monday, President Obama insisted that bringing in the Syrian refugees would continue and that any refusal to admit them into the U.S. would be “a betrayal of our values.” Based on our history, Obama is lying. However, allowing refugees into the country is not an easy yes or no decision. Especially when one considers that the U.S.’ refusal to take in Jewish refugees during the Holocaust increased the death toll by hundreds of thousands. But in the end refusing to allow the Syrian refugees into the country is a different situation and we must keep them out for our children’s safety.
Generally when we’ve accepted refuges into the United States it has been after the war was over for example Vietnam U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War ended on 15 August 1973, but refugees from Vietnam did not come to the U.S. until after the fall of Saigon in April 1995:
Vietnamese migration to the United States has occurred in three waves, the first beginning in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War, when the fall of Saigon led to the U.S.-sponsored evacuation of approximately 125,000 Vietnamese refugees. This first wave consisted mainly of military personnel and urban, educated professionals whose association with the U.S. military or the South Vietnamese government made them targets of the communist forces.
We allowed about 150K Bosnian refugees into the country, but after the war was over in 1995:
During WWII the U.S’s refused its biggest opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of lives by accepting refugees and did so based on faith. FDR refused to accept Jews fleeing Hitler into the U.S. and his reason was the country already had to many Jews.
In his book, “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.” historian Rafael Medoff says Franklin Delano Roosevelt failed to take relatively simple measures that would have saved significant numbers of Jews during the Holocaust, because his vision for America only encompassed having a small number of Jews.
“In his private, unguarded moments, FDR repeatedly made unfriendly remarks about Jews, especially his belief that Jews were overrepresented in many professions and exercised too much influence and control on society. This prejudice helped shape his overall vision of what America should look like — and it was a vision with room for only a small number of Jews who, he said, should be ‘spread out thin.’ This helps explain why his administration went out of its way discourage and disqualify would-be immigrants, instead of just quietly allowing the immigration quotas to be filled to their legal limit.
In 1938 there was even a conference where 39 nations got together to figure out how to help the Jews but no one wanted them, even though Hitler offered to transport them:
I can only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals [Jews], will at least be generous enough to convert this sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on luxury ships
BTW Churchill was even worse, not only did he think Great Britain had enough Jews, but he refused to allow them to escape into what was then called Palestine.From early 1939 the British barred Jews from entering Palestine or buying land there. So the Jews had no where to go.
The bigotry of FDR and Churchill may have cost hundreds of thousands of Jews their lives (but it wouldn’t have prevented the Holocaust totally).
That history weighs heavily on my consideration of whether or not we should allow the Syrian refugees into the country. How can I say we should keep Syrian refugees out of the country when I know that hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed because of FDR’s bigotry.
Call me a hypocrite, but in the end it comes down to this, when Jews were trying to escape the Nazis, Hitler did not embed SS soldiers in with the refugees. On the other hand ISIS is embedding terrorists in with the Syrian refugees, so far we know at least two of them contributed to last week’s attacks in Paris.
Where I probably agree with the President is that we should not allow only the Christian refugees into the country, not because of his reasons however. While Christians in the Middle East are in much bigger danger than the Muslims as they are targeted for being non-believers, it is probably just as easy for ISIS to have terrorists fake their faith as it is for them to fake being a refugee. Until we can guarantee that no ISIS member (or any other terrorist) can come into the U.S. with the refugees of any faith, it is incumbent on America’s leaders to protect our families by keeping them all out.