As a nation, we’ve been faced with a decision: To do the humane, righteous thing and accept refugees trying to escape a nation riddled with war and extremism, or cower in fear based on irrational judgment.
We just did the latter. And in doing so, we just let ISIS win.
Explaining all of this in the White House weekly address is Vice President Joe Biden. He explained that these extremists win when they successfully terrify a nation away from doing the right thing. That they seek to create conflict and a clash of cultures, and that they so desperately desire to divide and conquer.
“To turn them away and say there is no way you can ever get here would play right into the terrorists’ hands.”
“They want us to manufacture a clash between civilizations. They want frightened people to think in terms of ‘us versus them.’”
With the vote of the SAFE act in Congress, which passed 289-137, many are seeking to make it even harder for Syrian refugees to escape and seek asylum in the land of the free. However, as Biden explains in his address:
“Refugees face the most rigorous screening of anyone who comes to the United States. First they are fingerprinted, then they undergo a thorough background check, then they are interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security.”
It’s not as if we’re just opening the door and letting any and everyone in to the United States. Biden states:
“And unlike in Europe, refugees don’t set foot in the United States until they are thoroughly vetted.”
According to the Washington Post:
“The United States has asked the UNHCR to prioritize refugees who are considered vulnerable – women with children, the elderly, people who have been tortured or who may require modern medical treatment they cannot easily get elsewhere. Half the accepted refugees so far have been children. A quarter are adults over 60.”
To be blunt, Congress not only slapped refugees in the face with their vote to make it virtually impossible for refugees to enter, but it was also a slap in the face to the United States and its already strict procedures.
Republicans in Congress, as well as in the presidential race and around the country, are politicizing the recent attacks in Paris, France, to push their own agenda of fear in the nation. They are falling right in line with the “us vs. them” mentality. The very same way of thinking ISIS is seeking to impose on us. They know that the more people fear them, the more they can recruit to join them in their battle against the west.
In Biden’s closing remarks, he states it perfectly when he says:
“They want us to turn our backs on Muslims victimized by terrorism. But this gang of thugs peddling a warped ideology, they will never prevail. The world is united in our resolve to end their evil. And the only thing ISIL can do is spread terror in hopes that we will in turn, turn on ourselves. We will betray our ideals and take actions, actions motivated by fear that will drive more recruits into the arms of ISIL. That’s how they win. We win by prioritizing our security as we’ve been doing. Refusing to compromise our fundamental American values: freedom, openness, tolerance. That’s who we are. That’s how we win.”
We, as a nation, need to remember that we are a nation of immigrants. We are a nation that was put together by outcasts from other lands. How soon we forget a long history of accepting the downtrodden. The Statue of Liberty stands for that very reason — to accept the tired, the poor, the homeless, those yearning to breathe free.
Here are Vice President Biden’s remarks in full:
Video/Featured image: YouTube