The governors of the United States are justified in rejecting Syrian refugees
Debate Rounds (5)
In the recent events of the horrific tragic in Paris, France of November 13, 2015, the Republican governors are rejecting Syrian refugee settlements in the United States. These states include, but are not limited to Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. The Democratic governor of New Hampshire has joined in on this rejection.
I shall be taking the side of con in that this act of rejection is not justifiable.
The debate will follow this format:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Premises
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals
Round 5: Conclusion
Please take this debate seriously and keep it clean. Provide any relevant evidence to support your claims when necessary and keep an open mind going into this debate.
I would like to thank DebatingPolitics97 for dedicating their time to this debate topic and it seems you are relatively new, so welcome to this community! Henceforth I will now refer to DebatingPolitics97 as pro in this debate in the fact that my opponent, pro will now support the claim that "The governors of the United States are justified in rejecting Syrian refugees," which I shall now refer to as the conclusion. Pro, you have my gratitude in entering this debate as a conservative Republican, as presented in your comment since there is a negative image with this party in this issue and I would like to understand how a Republican might view this situation, but of course I cannot make the claim that this negative image applies to all Republicans. This can also be said for the other main party, the Democrats, but in this debate, I would like to avoid the blame game on the demonizing of a party for their actions as presented in the media. What I might bring up are the actions of a party as seen in history and the present time and the consequences when it is relevant.
As a person from a family of refugees in recent history, I hold this topic dear to me and might use examples from my experiences as well as evidence to support my claims. I hope for this debate to provide a new perspective to the both of us and anybody involved. Firstly, I would like to identify what a refugee means from the Oxford Dictionaries, which shall be my source in this debate to define any terms. A refugee is defined as, "A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster." This is much different than an immigrant, which is defined as, "A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country." The two status on a person cannot be interchangeable and the main focus shall be on the status of a refugee. From the definitions, it can be said that a refugee entering a new country, that their life is at stake, while an immigrant's life might not be necessary at stake, but instead, is looking for a better life. In this debate, I would like to strictly focus on refugees from Syria since the conclusion calls for it although there is no doubt refugees from other middle eastern nations are affected as well. I would also like to define the verb, reject and the noun, terrorism.
1.1 - Dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one's taste.
1.2 - Refuse to agree to (a request).
1.2 - Fail to show due affection or concern for (someone).
1 - The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
Now, I understand that these governors have concerns with the risk of terrorism in their state, but I am here to debate that this is still not justifiable in denying a safe haven to refugees who are actual victims to terrorism. To date, the death toll in Syria is 250,000+, of which 30,000 are children.  Are these not innocent civilians of war from terrorism? Keep in mind that the United States is also accountable for the death toll of these innocents from air strikes. The causalities for western civilians and soldiers just doesn't compare, but unfortunately, this is the price of war, not counting the economic cost, time, and trauma. Should the United States not be held responsible and pay the price for playing a part in the rise of these extremists? These were some of the things I pondered when I decided to be con to this conclusion. National security is always a concern when there are enemies that are out to topple a nation and it can be said that some citizens have complacently put their trust into this security until the recent unfortunate events that took place in Paris. This war is also unconventional as well with the attack on innocent lives, but that is precisely the goals of terrorism, to strike fear into the hearts of people, and it seems to work.
I believe these governors have a moral obligation to shelter the incoming wave of refugees. These refugees are fleeing for their lives and are requesting protection, yet they are being rejected. As a person with families who were once refugees, we want nothing more than to pursue life, liberty, and freedom. If possible, some of these refugees are willing to go back home once the terrorism has cease. We are all humans so it is natural to just want to live, yet these refugees are discriminated against as portrayed from just a handful of few who claim to be Islam that wants the death of the western lifestyle. Not all Muslims are terrorists, and not all terrorists are Muslim.
In terms of further discrimination against the Islam religion, was it not the intention of the framers of the Constitution to create a nation where everybody is free to practice their religion as presented in the First Amendment? Most Americans are considered Christian and is it not in their values to help others when they are in need?
With the fear and distrust in the Muslim people and the refugees, there are some governors who would further discriminate against these communities in their state although these people should have the protection of the Constitution. How can the very same people, who preach freedom and want to spread it in the middle east, not want to grant the very same freedom in the state that they reside in? I feel this hatred is what caused the divide in the American life and it further creates the hate that was never there, which can lead to terrorist acts as "us" against "them".
Now,as the Con has stated the definition of refugee, I need to clarify that not all of these people our president will bring into our country are refugees. There are ISIS perpetrators and I will state again that we have no way to tell if they are a part of ISIS or a Christian group! I have no problem with helping the small percentage of Christians who need our help, I would love it if we could bring all of them to our country. Unfortunately, there is too much risk in bringing them here. This is my argument and i will encourage those of you who are voting and commenting to keep an open mind to both of our views and to be fair. Thank you Con for making this civil!
The issues that pro brings up are the following, "Muslims are more apt to be terrorists than Christian refugees are." I am incline to agree this statement since it should be a comparison of religion since Christian Syrians are just as discriminated against as Muslim Syrians. There is no way to tell whether an individual is a Muslim or Christian, just like as pro pointed out that there is, "no true way to tell if they are a threat to our nation." There is really no real way to determine if an individual will become radicalized without infringement onto the individual's rights. Currently, there is discrimination against a group of people regardless of whether they are American or not and whether they did anything wrong. Consider what is already happening. This is something I received from the White House.
The number of Syrian refugees UNHCR has referred to the U.S. Refugees Admission Program: 23,092
The number of Syrians the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed since FY 2011: 7.014
The number of Syrian refugees who have been admitted since FY: 2,034
The number of Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. that have been arrested or removed on terrorism charges: 0
Not only that, but the screening is insanely tough.
"Refugees are subjected to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States, including the involvement of the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense." 
I will also make the argument that there is no restrictions of individuals who are more susceptible to terrorism who are coming into the United States from foreign countries, yet there is discrimination against innocent refugees.
I apologize for not presenting my argument sooner and in a detailed way since I have been preoccupied with work. With the weekend coming up, I hope to address this issue further.
Con has said,
"I will also make the argument that there is no restrictions of individuals who are more susceptible to terrorism who are coming into the United States from foreign countries, yet there is discrimination against innocent refugees."
This is a point I can not dispute. We are allowing hundreds of thousands of Mexican immigrants into this country with no regard to the dangers they pose! Also, as a side note to this topic, there are arguments that say that it is Constitutional to let these people in our country. How is it Constitutional? It is not once mentioned in the Constitution that we should let every person who needs protection into our country.
Do you really believe that we should allow terrorists into our country?Over 50 of the Syrian refugees who have already been brought have 24/7 studying, because they are already suspected ISIS members. By allowing these refugees into our country that is what would happen and more... Is the safety of 10,000 Syrians worth more than safety of the hundreds of thousands of American lives who are at stake? We can not take these immigrants and refugees into our country! The biggest reason behind this reasoning is that there is no way to pay for them! We are almost 19 trillion USD in debt.I have some very important questions for the Con that I feel that not only he, but our president as well, should answer before even considering taking these desperate Christians into our country.
Where is the money coming from to pay for them? Where are they going to live? How will they eat? How will they get to places? It is not as if these people can bring automobiles with them! These people have not much in the matter of clothes... Who will get clothes for them? How will they get jobs? We can not simply send them to schools to learn trades for free, as this money generally comes from the taxes of Americans (the middle class suffers the most from these taxes as they can barely afford to feed themselves).
This is my main argument and I truly wish for answers!
Although pro does not trust President Obama on national security, the screening does not go through the president. I insist pro learn more about the nation's security and how it works by listening to Director Christopher Geldart from Homeland Security, one of the many of the United States' departments that does the actual screening . This is an actual organization whose work and expertise is all about national security, much more than the knowledge of common folks like us. Can threats still slip through the cracks? Sure, unless you expect the utmost perfection in what humans do.
I do not want to argue too much about President Obama since I feel it is irrelevant to the conclusion, but I can at least see what he is trying to do in terms of foreign affairs. You don't reconcile with your friends, but your enemies. War, "a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state," has been an ongoing process since ancient times until now. If you never make peace, then there will always be war unless you completely obliterate the other side. In my opinion, war is not worth it since it cycles a negative effect at an extreme cost. Even to this day, from the bloodiest war in the United States, the American Civil War since 1861 still has an impact on today. The recent removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina of July 10, 2015 still shows the great divide that the United States has with the extreme bitterness in the south as a removal of heritage. Are we content with this bitterness and divide in the United States? What will be the effects of this bitterness and divide? I doubt sweeping it under the rug and ignoring it will do anything. I can go on and supply an even greater number of examples, but it is irrelevant to the conclusion.
The United States is at war with ISIS. I feel I do not need to explain this. ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh's objective is to kill everybody that don't yield to their radical beliefs, even Muslim people . The United States has been bombing ISIS every single day and yes, innocent people, regardless of religion are still affected. War claims lives and with current technology and media, the effects of war is easily place in the faces of people to stir emotions that might have not been there before. I want to go over my point, "Not all Muslims are terrorists, and not all terrorists are Muslim." So to date, there is over 2 billion Muslims worldwide [5, 6]. Need more sources? I suggest pro comes up with a relevant counter to these numbers and my next argument. Now consider ISIS able men, women, and yes, even children.
"With a minimum of 8.5 million strong supporters and 24.5 million who view the group at least somewhat positively, the Islamic State has plenty of room for growth in the Arab world."  So, with 2 billion Muslims worldwide, and assuming if all of ISIS is Muslim, then that is not even 1%. "Not all Muslims are terrorists." Don't believe the numbers? I insist that pro sets out on a journey to find out the truth.
In recent news, there was a white supremacy terrorist act in South Carolina at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of June 17, 2015. There was a mass shooting that claimed the lives of nine believers of Christ that welcomed this young man in. This was a tragic event and should they have not welcomed him in and turned their backs on him? In their faith, no. Can this relate to the great divide and bitterness that the American Civil War created? I believe it does. Does this happens all the time? It does, but not as often as media portrays it to be. This is in fact a terrorist act since it strikes fear in the hearts of people that this can happen anywhere. I can go on and on with the examples of the terrorist acts of the KKK, radical political parties of both sides, and even the Westboro Baptist Church. "Not all terrorists are Muslim." Since I mentioned the WBC, comparing Christian people as terrorists with the activities of this group is similar to comparing Muslim people to ISIS. These terrorist group are, but a small portion of radicals that has a loud controversial voice that was able to get attention (think Donald Trump). The only difference between the WBC and ISIS is that I am grateful that the WBC isn't as powerful as ISIS.
My next argument is to show that radicals already exists in a nation, regardless of refugees. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the ringleader of the recent terrorist attacks on Paris was actually from Belgium. You guessed it, he also perform terrorist acts in Belgium and across the Europe continent.
"Abaaoud's name is also being linked to others who have carried out or tried to carry out attacks on other sites in Europe. A french counterterrorism source told CNN on Tuesday that Abaaoud knew Mehdi Nemmouche, who admitted to killing four people in an attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels, Belgium, in May 2014." 
Not only that, but consider this statement from Abaaoud,
"I was able to leave and come to Sham (Syria) despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies. My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them, and leave safely when doing so became necessary."
I want to point out that it might be even easier than innocent refugees for these terrorists to enter and come into the United States as well since they were citizens of Europe and most likely have a blueprint of their plans and how to implement it. Not only that, but they have the resources and information to enter a nation, compared to the refugees who tries to do it legally and have barely anything, but the clothing on their backs. Also, consider Jihadi John, who was a British resident. Now, how easy do you think it is to catch a flight from anywhere from Europe as a citizen to the United States and hide the fact that you are a radical? I don't feel the need to go into the details, but I am just naming out the terrorists who were successful. What I really want to show is how successful our national security is in catching these terrorists even if they were posing as "refugees". This next source is a list of terrorists, along with their picture and information regarding to what was happening .
We, as a nation want to avoid terror, but every single day, these refugees are experiencing this terror. Does it not make sense for these people to flee into safety away from this everyday terror? Regardless of what generation you are, your family has to come to America at some point to seek a better life. Why are we, as Americans, denying this liberty to people who are doing the same thing as what our families have successfully done. Regardless of Christian, or Muslim, or some random religion, everybody is a person that does not want to live in terror.
Pro, you bought up very valid questions and concerns, but I am nearing my limit so I will address them, from a perspective of a generation of refugee families in my conclusion. It will have no bearings on the justification of rejecting Syrian refugees because I feel a life of poverty and eventually achieving the American dream is better than being dead. They were given a second chance at life and I feel honored that my taxes goes out to help people and not kill them.
DebatingPolitics97 forfeited this round.
It seems there has been a long break on this debate. My opponent pro has not forfeited the fourth round due to life circumstances, and has posted in the comment section, which I will accept and will refer others to go over. Pro made a list of what the Qur'an teaches to Muslims and the success of ISIS. I would like to also make a correction in my round 3, which I addressed in the comment section, but forgot to in the actual debate. In the second sentence, I claimed that "[I]t should be a comparison of religion..." when it should be "shouldn't".
I shall begin my closing statements. With the heated events still going around in the world, I have set out to argue against the justifications of the governors' action in rejecting Syrian refugees. I believe that a person should not be persecuted for their religion as it is also set forth in the Constitution of freedom of religion. I also made the effort to argue against using religion to persecute against these refugees and have shown that regardless of any religion, Christianity or Islam, that religious violence can still exist on any sides. Pro has also claimed that "[M]uslims are more apt to be terrorists than Christian refugees, are..." but I provided the evidence to show that not even 1% of Muslims are pursuing this violence, which is similar to Christianity, and that ISIS is a bad representation of Islam. I went on to present my argument for "Not all Muslims are terrorists, and not all terrorists are Muslim". Using religion to persecute a person is in poor taste since you can cherry pick the bad parts and apply those bad parts to people, which might not be a representation of the person. That is the straw man fallacy. Rarely do I see someone cherry picked the good parts of religion.
In the comment section, pro makes the claim that Paris is not in Belgium, which I agree, but what pro missed out was my whole point. A person is able to freely travel across Europe if they are a citizens and still be able to commit these terrorist acts. I recommend pro carefully read what was presented in round 4. My intentions were to show that these governors are so focused on rejecting the majority of innocent refugees, but there is no system to stop these terrorists, most who are already residing in the nation, from travelling around and still not get caught.
I felt the main justifications that these governors had are hate and fear for rejecting these refugees, which I believe is not justifiable. During this whole debate, I made the assumption that Muslims are people too so I did not mentioned it. These people, who happen to be refugees because they have the very same fear of terrorism are trying to flee for their lives, yet American people have this same fear of an unlikely terrorism act when a tragedy happens. The tragedy of once in a while just does not compare to the tragedy of everyday for these innocent refugees. The number of causalities does not even compare. To prevent tragedies though, there should be a national security system, which I brought up during the debate. The system is still able to catch these terrorists, but I must admit that it is in no way perfect. Nothing is.
Thus, I conclude my closing statements and will now focus on pro's other concerns that will be irrelevant to this debate. For the most part, I agree with pro that I do not want to allow terrorists into our great nation, but not allowing innocent refugees is not what I believe America stands for. I do not know the full details of the screening process or how an organization like the FBI specifically tracks down these terrorists while trying to not infringe on the rights of an American, but they do and it is their job to do so and create a successful system. The United States is the most diverse of all nations because it was able to accept anybody, regardless of culture, religion, and ethnicity. It was able to thrive because not everybody has the same perspective and everybody can see things differently, but we as people, still have the same values, to live free and pursue our dreams, the American dream.
The United States has the most intensive programs compared to other nations when it comes to immigrants and refugees and it is very successful. The Intentional Rescue Committee, which I am proud to become a volunteer is one of those organizations that is part of the solution to a problem. Although the United States is known for its guns and the lobbying powers of the National Rifle Associations, the United States is actually a great leader when it comes to any humanitarian efforts not only in the United States, but across the world. How are they going to eat? There are many great organizations like Feeding America and welfare systems. Not only that, but there are actually buses and trolleys to transport people. Cars are not the only way to get from point A to B. Learning English would be more of a challenge then getting a job, especially a manufacturing or minimum wage job to at least support themselves. Eventually, they can contribute to society and into a growing economy. Of course, these systems are not truly perfect, but at least it is a step towards the solution instead of going towards hate and fear.
DebatingPolitics97 forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Yassine 10 months ago
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