Syrian Refuges should be allowed to enter the United States of America.
The Country of Syria is in the middle of a Civil War and 9 million Syrians have fled their country since 2011. As per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 3 million plus have fled to neighboring countries. under 850,000 refugees have found asylum in the European Union. 85% are pledged for Germany. 62 percent of them are men. Judging by a UN spokesperson who stated "Those referred to the US would be among those remaining in the Middle East, such as Turkey and Jordan, and those refugees are largely women and children". This quote stats that it is mostly women and children that will be entering the USA, but the men have mostly been placed in Europe. The question that derives is can ISIL forces infiltrate the United States (US) refugee population as the one did in Paris. James R. Clapper believes so according to the Washington Times. He was the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from 1992 to 1995. There have also been reports of other intelligence personnel who believe the same is possible. Michael McCaul, the Chairman of Homeland Security is one other who believes this. I will now leave this open for the opposition to respond.
First of all, before we get started, I want to make it understood that security is the top priority US agencies have alongside several others when a refugee applicant is being vetted for settlement within the United States. Partially as a consequence of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the US intelligence and security agencies reshuffling that followed to counter future attacks, a total of twelve government agencies are now involved in the vetting process of a refugee applicant for resettlement within the United States . This vetting process includes the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and scrutinizes numerous components of the applicant's life such as work and individual history, ties to the region in which he/she resides, mental fitness, ability to work, and family . It is considered one of the most rigorous refugee vetting processes among modern industrial nations . For a refugee to be accepted into the United States he/she must first apply for refugee status and send an application to the United States; once the ball gets rolling, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) gets involved to see if the applicant would be a good fit for resettlement within the United States . (Typically this means that the refugee should have family within the US, though not always .) Once the UNHCR gives the go-ahead, the application goes to the US Department of Homeland Security, who then investigate the candidate and work to verify the responses on the application . Other US intelligence and security agencies are notified during the verification process.
During the investigation phase, the Refugee Corps gets involved and goes to the homeland or nation of residence of the refugee candidate to thoroughly screen him or her . The screening process is very long and is enacted to verify the refugee's identity, to verify the claims made by the refugee on the application and in person, to determine any possible threat to US security the candidate poses, and to uncover and determine any possible links to terrorist groups or activity the applicant may have . And even if the refugee applicant passes all these tests and security checks, his or her application can still be denied by a security officer during the interview phase if the officer feels things don't quite line up .
At the Department of Homeland Security, the refugee candidate and screening process takes a minimum of 18 months from start to finish (and can take up to three years), and at no time during the vetting process are Syrian refugees allowed to enter the US . Only after final approval are Syrian refugees permitted to enter the country .
The US already has in place a rigorous vetting process to weed out potential Syrian terrorists and violent extremists. Security must a top concern when permitting refugees or even candidate short-term or permanent resident aliens into the country. But The United States already has a secure system in place. Strengthening it even more couldn't hurt.
But it shouldn't come at the price of outright denying Syrian refugees into the country. Since 2011, 12 million people have been displaced by the horrible, life-altering Civil War inside Syria . A total of 4 million Syrians are estimated to have left the country and have resettled or are in the process of resettling elsewhere . More than two million refugees have resettled in Turkey; more than a million have resettled in Lebanon; more than a half-a-million refugees now reside in Jordan; several hundreds of thousands now live in Egypt and Iraq . And more than 600,000 Syrian refugees are now seeking asylum within Europe , with that number expected to surpass a million by the end of 2015.
Because of the complicated nature of the Civil War in Syria, which includes the backwards-looking, body-decapitating activities of the international terrorist group ISIS, and because of the complex international response, the Syrian refugee crisis has no immediate end in sight. The financial and resource strain on the Middle East and on Europe is already quite large, and is expected to get bigger. The international community, led by the United States and its partners, is now gearing up for coalition airstrikes, which may exacerbate the problem. In light of all these factors and several others, the United States should welcome good Syrian refugees into the country. The vetting process is already in place. We do not need to reject all Syrians--men, women, boys, girls, old persons--only because we fear what a few bad Syrians can do.
So far, the United States has resettled only 2000 Syrian refugees . This is a drop in the bucket compared to what other nations have accepted. Under President Obama, the US State Department hopes to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees by next fiscal year . But some US elected officials--including Governors--guided by fear and a poor grip on the facts, want to put a stop to this completely--and deny entry to all Syrian refugees.
The vast majority of these refugees are happy to have escaped the fighting and resettle in more promising areas, where they can rebuild their lives. The United States is a model of what it can do for displaced people and immigrants. Refugees have fled their homelands before only to become business and political leaders within the United States .
There's no need to deny this opportunity to properly-vetted, forward-looking Syrian refugees.
In understanding that the civil unrest has no detectable end in the country of Syria, the refugee issue will continue. This adds to the latter premise about the fiscal strain that the countries of the European Union are experiencing. With the current fiscal issues the USA is experiencing, is it the wisest move to add more of a financial strain to the load by adding refugees? Not only speaking of the fiscal burdens, there are other issues to take into account. My opposition has gone deeper into the vetting process for ensuring that refugees are not a threat to our society. Though the US has one of the most extensive screening processes around, most of the Syrian records are not obtainable. There isn't much to vent the refugees on according to some top intelligence officials. Anyone can lie on a questionnaire and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to beat a polygraph.
Extreme Islamic groups don't believe that the western way of life is correct. There have been reports that ISIS has admitted to infiltrating the refugee population. Some Islamic beliefs are based on pushing a mass killing of Islamic followers to encourage there apocalyptic beliefs. This is accomplished by forcing the West to retaliate to the actions of these terror attacks. as per Graeme Wood, March 2015,
"An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate"s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus"the second-most-revered prophet in Islam"will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory."
This is the type of rhetoric that is threatening to the life style of the USA. These refugees aren't expected to assimilate to the culture of the United States, but they are excepted to become citizens. This is destructive to the US way of life. The abrupt changing of a culture is a sure way to cause civil-unrest in our home country. There is another more affective way to assist Syrian refugees without threatening our home people. I will present this in the final round of the debate.
 Graeme Wood, March 2015
In ROUND 2 of this debate, my opponent acknowledges that the Syrian refugee crisis likely has no end in sight, because of the complicated nature and developments of the Syrian Civil War. The countries of Russia and Iran are fiercely promoting and supporting, financially and militarily, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a leader who the United States and its global allies are accusing of human rights violations and war crimes . In summer of 2013, for example, the United States publically concluded and brought forward evidence that the Syrian regime had illegally used chemical weapons that killed hundreds of unarmed civilians during a fight against rebel forces, a conclusion which the UN human right's office likewise reached and was able to implicate on the highest levels of the Syrian government, including President al-Assad . The international community responded by placing pressure on the Syrian government to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile and destroy it . Even though Syria did succumb to pressure and handed over much of its chemical weapons/material stockpile, the global chemical weapons watchdog in charge during the handover concluded the government did not hand over all the material and weapons , and there are indications that the regime is now using these weapons regularly in the fighting . For this reason and numerous other human rights violations, the Obama Administration and close international allies are pressing for Bashar al-Assad to give up power.
Initially, I will say my prayers go out to the families of those who lost someone in the recent massacre in California. If this is anything this situation shows that we have enough issues to deal with our selves and should be very careful with adding new issues to the home front. My opposition has agreed to a plethora of my concerns put forward in this debate. The one that he has not touched is that Isis has an agenda. It would not be wise to ignore this. They are recruiting and there is no easier target than those who are already followers of Sharia law. There is no need for conversion only encouragement to act on those beliefs. Majority of Syrians are indeed Muslims and they follow Sharia law.
My opposition has stated "Denying morally-decent Syrians an opportunity to improve their lives inside our borders because of where they were born and the religion they identify as makes us just as bad as the people we profess to fight abroad." The biggest problem with this premise is the fact that it misses the point of the issue. Sharia law is a religious law. And this law depicts a lot of conflicts with the constitution of the USA. Isis is on a mission to push their apocalyptic beliefs. This means it is a them versus us situation. Either you are with the program or against it, no gray here. My opponent stated in the earlier premise that if we deny the morally-decent refugees we will be just as Isis. I disagree with this premise because the citizens of the US are a lot more lenient than Isis is. We are not going to kill the refugees if they won"t conform but some refugees might kill non Muslims or moderate Muslims who won"t convert to or uphold Sharia law. It really does not matter if they are vented or not, If you are convinced to up hold Sharia law to it"s fullest then you will become a threat to the US way of life. Here is a question why don"t the neighboring countries of Syria take these refugees? There they would be more at home in stead of in such an alien location such as the US.
Conclusively, the best way I can see us helping the refugee issue (without an absolute think-tank taking place) is to place boots on the ground. We can set up a safe zone in Syria with a no fly zone and all. A coalition can be started with other nations assisting. The refugees can come in and settle in this area. Here we can train the rebels that are fighting in the civil war. This way the men and women who wish to can fight for their home the way I would along with a few other US citizens. We would be able to ship supplies and anything else they would need, but most importantly our citizens won"t take on added risks. The opposition has stated "Good people deserve a chance as long as opportunities exist and there's a place to put them. Bad people do not." This is a plan that will help those good people out and give them an opportunity to thrive. The USA has enough domestic issues as is. Can we really afford to add on to the plate? And if we do at what cost? Once it starts it is extremely hard to go back. Lets be wise we know Isis" intentions, we should make it harder for them to accomplish this not easier. My opponent says we shouldn't"t let fear stop us from helping others; Contrarily, fear is a driving force that keeps people safe. We shouldn't"t let fear run us but we should respect it and take the causes of fear into consideration for our next moves. As I stated in the initial round, we should help we always have as a leading nation in world affairs. But we shouldn't"t risk our peoples safety in the process.
My condolences go out to all the victims and the victims' families of the shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino this past week. It is being investigated as a terrorism incident, and so I recognize that it is relevant to this debate. The now-dead culprits of this massacre have been labeled radicalized musims by the FBI, and at least one of the active shooters hailed from Pakistan; she also pledged support to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during the massacre .
This is a horrific tragedy, and unfortunately I know this will be used by many individuals in our country to paint all Muslims and people who descend from that part of the world as dangerous or potential converts to terrorism. Now, I don't want to take away from the fact that there definitely are fanatical muslims out there who want to harm people in the United States or elsewhere. We saw a horrific terror attack conducted by extremist Muslims in Paris just a few weeks ago. The promotion of terrorism within the United States or anywhere in the world is intolerable and we must stamp it out aggressively and thoroughly. We cannot give terrorists the opportunity to abduct the world with their poisonous philosophy and to replace the life-giving values of this world. It would be a massive failure on our part if we failed to constrain and ultimately reduce and eradicate the terrorist mindset. This is why we must take the threat of terrorism seriously in our country, and why I absolutely do acknowledge credibility in my opponent's perspective on this issue. Terrorism has the power to destroy the beautiful, promising, and life-affirming philosophies of modern civilization--and we cannot allow that poisonous thinking to infiltrate our own values and moral beliefs.
And even though two radicalized muslims massacred fourteen people last week in San Bernardino, out of fanatical devotion to their perverted view of Islam, Muslims throughout the United States reacted to this news by criticizing it publically and passionately holding antiterrorism rallies inside our country . Reports the Washington Post:
"When the crowd arrived at Lafayette Park across from the White House, tourists pulled out their cellphones . . . The front row of the marchers was a phalanx of young boys holding posterboards with words such as 'Americans unite against Wahhabi terrorism,' 'Muslims against ISIS' and 'American Shia Muslims stand with the victims of San Bernardino.' . . . Ali Alkhafa, 23, a University of Maryland student who grew up in California but was born in a Saudi refugee camp, said 'Muslims aren’t as vocal as we need to be . . . It’s cultural. We’re welcoming but not as open to one another as we should be. My folks’ generation are still isolated [by ethnic group], but my generation is really open'" .
And these individuals are hardly the exception. In Germany last September thousands of Muslims took part in "A Day of Peace" rally, where they protested against the Islamic State extremist group, which at least one perpetrator of the San Bernardino massacre pledged to support . The event was organized by mainstream Muslim groups in Germany to emphasize their disapproval of the extremist group's ideology and barbaric actions in Syria and Iraq . A few days later, in France, thousands of Muslims took to the streets in protest of the cruel tactics of the ISIS terror group; they also tweeted through the internet to express disapproval of the group's murderous ideology, through the hashtag campaign #notinmyname (French: #pasenmonnom), which was initiated by British Muslims to express opposition to extremist violence . The protest was organized after ISIS militants videotaped the beheading of a French hostage and distributed the video through the internet. Muslims throughout France and Europe rallied to denounce the beheading and to express that ISIS is a perversity of their religion . Said the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris during the rally: "[The French Tourist] was the victim of a cowardly murder. Islam demands respect for life . . . The Koran tells us that to kill one man is to kill all humanity" .
Two days earlier, US Muslim leaders and scholars distributed an open letter denoucning ISIS militants point by point; they expressed outright condemnation of the "killing of innocents" and jihad .
A week after the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, Italian muslims valiantly trudged through heavy rain to rally against Islamic militants and terrorism . Using the familiar banner "Not in my name", hundreds gathered in an Italian square in Rome to denounce the violent extremist group and the carnage of evil it claimed responsibility for in Paris . "These terrorist groups are only creating hate between peoples and between religions," said Mustapha Hajraoui, president of the Italian Islamic Confederation" . "We are here to say 'no' because our religion is not a religion of terrorism, it is not a religion of war but of peace and coexistence" . Reuters News Service reported that "Marchers chanted 'no to terrorism', held placards saying 'terrorism is a cancer' and 'we are not the enemy', and listened to a message of support from Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Before the terror attacks on Paris last month, Muslims around the world have been rallying against extremist violence and terrorism for years, from New Delhi, India  to Nigeria  to Britain's major cities . Sheik Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council in Britain, said in 2005:
"[We take part in marches because] the idea is to show we are united in condemining this murderous act. It would send a very strong message to the terrorists and to the British public that we are against violence and want to live in peace. The terrorists will not drive a wedge between us" .
On November 18th of this year, scores of Muslims gathered at a rally in Bopal, India to protest terrorism with placards and banners, and to show support for the victims of the horrific Paris attacks a few days earlier .
In the United States, Muslims reacted to the Paris terror attacks and the attack in San Bernardino by publically protesting ISIS and Islamic militants. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, for example, a group of Muslim Americans stood outside their Mosque holding posters to condemn the killings and to clear up misconceptions about what they believe . Imam Morsy Salem, a religious leader at the Grand Rapids Mosque, explained to a local television news program that it’s important that people know the vast majority of the those who practice Islam have nothing to do with ISIS . Events like these have been playing out throughout the country since the attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino.
Even though it's easy to get the impression that Islam and terrorism go hand in hand, these stories show that the vast majority of muslim adherents are not terrorists and in fact do not condone violence against innocent individuals. Most Muslims both within the United States and elsewhere disapprove of violent extremism and terrorism, particularly that commited by ISIS (also known as Daesh) or Al Queda. The vast majority of Muslims in the United States and that wish to migrate here (resettle here) want to live in peace in pursuit of happiness and prosperity, and it would be a major moral and humanitarian failing on our part to deny them this opportunity out of blind fear. Most of these individuals are good people, that want to do their share and live the American dream.
I agree with my opponents's view that some fear can be helpful, particular when it comes to terrorism and its genuine destructive effects. But too much fear is not healthy either. It's bad US policy to make enemies out of people that don't want to be our enemies, but that want to be our friends--and ultimately Americans! There's too much risk of turning good Muslims into potential opponents by transforming American policy against them.
No. The responsible thing to do as a nation, the best path forward, is to be cautious but take the time and energy to properly vet refugees from the Middle East and Syria, and distinguish promising candidates from the potentially violent and irresponsible. It's a task that requires time, manpower, money, and energy, but that's always been the situation when America has accepted immigrants onto its shore. Fear is only helpful when it allows us to make more responsible, better thought-out choices--not when it forces us to make hasty decisions and inferior prejudices. Responding to terror incidents by denigrating an entire ethnic or religous group is the exact kind of poison that terrorist groups are already drinking.
There's a better way to respond to terrorism, and that's by treating people by their merits. We should proceed cautiously and appraise refugees thoroughly. But we don't have to make them all our enemy, especially since many want to be our friend.
I say let's help fix Syria, and accept worthy refugees.