America is a nation founded by refugees and built on values of freedom, opportunity, and tolerance. That’s why it’s so fitting that the Statue of Liberty reads, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Unfortunately, some politicians still can’t help but pander to their political base, refusing life-saving assistance to those most in need.
So this Thanksgiving, as you sit across the table from your Fox-News-loving uncle, we’ve got you covered.
Unhinged Uncle Says: This isn’t our problem.
You say: This is a global problem being tackled by countries all over the world. As world leaders, it is our responsibility to lead by welcoming victims of terror and war. Other countries are welcoming in the vast majority of the more than 4 million people who have fled Syria. The 10,000 refugees the U.S. plans to accept represents a small but enormously meaningful contribution to this global crisis.
As Idahoans, we are part of the global community.
Unhinged Uncle Says: Those refugees could be terrorists – better safe than sorry!
You say: Syrian refugees aren’t terrorists, they are the victims of terrorism, fleeing the same types of atrocities we witnessed in Paris. Syrian refugees entering this country already undergo the most intensive vetting and screening procress of any group — from the State Department, Homeland Security, the Consular Lookout System, the FBI, Immigration Services, and more.
Don’t forget that nearly 70 million foreigners travel through this country every year and 18 million of those aren’t even required to get a visa. And just this week, a Republican governor who is trying to block refugees from entering his state could not name a single problem with the current screening process.
Unhinged Uncle Says: I still don’t see the problem in delaying these refugees.
You say: When we delay and reject the entry of Syrian refugees we help ISIS — we prove their recruiting ploy that argues the West is intolerant to Muslims.
Syrian refugees already face the most scrutiny of any refugees, and delaying their entry even further only puts their lives at risk. It takes one to three years for a refugee to be admitted. Of those Syrian refugees who have gone through that intense screening process so far, 75% have been children or seniors.
Unhinged Uncle Says: Islam promotes terrorism!
You Say: Religion doesn’t promote violence, bad people promote violence. But while there are bad apples everywhere, blaming all Muslims for terrorism is like blaming all actors for Adam Sandler films. The #NotInMyName movement is an excellent example of Muslims showing the world how most followers of Islam understand and practice their faith.
Unhinged Uncle Says: What’s the harm in Governor Otter being cautious?
You say: While the Governor has no power to stop the refugee program, Otter’s actions are dangerous: he is propagating fear and signaling that an entire community of people are terrorists, which is obviously not true. Even his wife disagrees with him. Elected officials should offer character and leadership on important issues, not irrational intolerance aimed at pleasing primary voters. His pandering subject communities to unfair harassment.
Of course, if all else fails, don’t talk to your Unhinged Uncle. Talk to your cousins.
A study released in 2014 reported that Millennials are the most progressive of any age group. Yet voter turnout, especially in off-year elections, is still too low. In 2014, a year before marriage equality became law of the land, voter turnout was a dismal 21.3% among this age group. Face it. Unhinged Uncle isn’t going to change his mind. Your cousins, on the other hand, might just hear you.