Who Makes Policy Campaign 2016 Edition

Letting “Those People” In

A recent NYTimes Op-Ed entitled “Anne Frank is Today’s Syrian Refugee” draws a comparison between American treatment of Jews seeking asylum during the Holocaust, and today’s Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the U.S. At first glance, the average person would argue with this claim, but during the 1930’s and 40’s “although 94% disapproved of Nazi treatment of Jews, 72% objected to admitting large number of Jews.” Today, we see this play out with the U.S. embarrassingly low goal to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees which accounts for one-fifth of 1% of the total number of refugees. We reached this goal earlier in September, and the 10,000th refugee was publicly celebrated! What is there really to celebrate? In comparison to the U.S., “Canada, with a population barely a tenth the size of the United States’, has resettled three times more Syrian refugees since last fall” The United States needs a more proactive refugee policy and efforts of current democrats deserve little praise.

It’s an all too similar scenario of Americans fearing this repeated story of the immigrants who are dangerous and different and will take our jobs – The U.S. cannot afford these extra people and we should look after ourselves…etc. Decades have passed and this xenophobic narrative still holds powerful weight, and unfortunately consequences for refugees.

How can we treat America’s long history of Xenophobia? How is it that a country composed of generations of immigrants refuses to offer the same sanctuary to today’s immigrants?

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