Opinion: Refugees have it hard enough


Carlyle Addy is a sophomore journalism major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Carlyle Addy

Kent State students have a lot of perks.

There’s a pool and a huge gym at the Recreation and Wellness Center. We can show our ID cards and get into lots of cool events at no cost. We have a library that any of us can see from practically anywhere on campus and in addition to the incredible amount of information stored in hard copy, there’s a website where we can access more information than we can even comprehend.

Refugees aren’t asking for all of that. They’re asking for shelter. They’re asking for a bed or a room they can share with their family. All they want from us is safety.

The U.S. State Department’s website outlines three paths for refugees that end up in our country. First, they go back safely to their country of origin. Second, they settle here and become citizens. Third, they relocate to a third country if they are particularly high risk.

Our process of taking in refugees is already secure. The threat of the Islamic State or other terrorist groups sending members through the system has been there all along. Either our system has kept them out or there are already non-native terrorists within our borders. If our system wasn’t good, we would have noticed long before now.

Even if our system wasn’t secure, there’s not much we can do to improve upon it. It’s a long process where even one mistake made by anyone leaves the person in question analogically stuck at the border.

The proposition made to vet refugees based on their religion goes against our American values. If we’re going to tout ourselves as peacekeepers, then we should make a point to be a place where people seeking peace can go.

With opponents to accepting refugees like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump – being the most prominent people advocating for a religious test for refugees – it also seems relevant to look at the biblical perspective on immigration.

In eight different books, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Malachi, Psalm and Jeremiah, the Bible talks about treating foreigners well and like they were native-born citizens. Even if their holy book said nothing about immigration, common human decency ought to be enough to win out over fear.

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, French president Francois Hollande has promised to accept 30,000 refugees. This is bravery. This is doing the right thing in spite of the fears that something bad could happen. Standing for values in spite of an enemy’s attempt to instill fear is what Americans claim they are all about.

If we stand for our values, then why is it that we have to argue over it before doing the right thing?

This attack wasn’t even against the U.S. It was against France, and while I’m sure accepting refugees wasn’t an easy decision, it was a relatively quick one.

Americans aren’t even divided down party lines, which would be worth celebrating, if their position and the outcome of it wasn’t so dire.

Carlyle Addy is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].