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Refugees come from many places and bring with them many stories influenced by worldwide issues. Wars, famines, droughts, and religious conflicts are among the key concerns. In the United States, there is a lengthy process for refugees seeking asylum. It’s essential that we treat refugees with a sense of urgency and kindness. There’s a compelling need for the United States to change its policy on refugees.
The current U.S. policy requires refugees to live in America for at least five years before becoming a citizen. They must demonstrate extensive knowledge of English, American history, and take classes on American culture. Moreover, refugees must initially pass health and background checks and validate whether their home country is safe for them to return to. This process usually takes between 18 to 24 months, during which refugees often remain in precarious situations.
How it works
In 2018, the cap on refugees plunged to an all-time low of 45,000. Mostly, this maximum quota was never reached, and 2018 was no exception. Just 22,491 refugees were admitted out of 45,000, approximately half the maximum quota! In 2019, the limit was reduced further to 30,000, breaking the previous record substantially.
Refugees are typically good people seeking a safe haven, be it temporary or permanent. Ninety-four percent of terrorist attacks in America are not executed by Muslims. Refugees are subjected to rigorous security checks, particularly those from Syria and its neighboring countries. Entry is prohibited to refugees with a criminal background. Likewise, security checks ensure that no refugee with a contagious illness poses a threat to U.S. citizens. The refugees that America admits have undergone extensive safety procedures and are law-abiding.
However, it’s important to acknowledge several reasons why the U.S. policy on refugees should remain the same. One point of contention is that taxpayers bear a significant cost to fund refugee programs—about $79,600 per refugee during their first five years in America. This results in an annual cost to taxpayers of approximately 1.8 billion dollars. Additionally, some argue that refugees pose safety risks; for instance, in 2015, ten terrorism cases involved refugees or other immigrants. A disturbing 2007 poll revealed that 77% of Syrians supported giving financial assistance to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. These are significant arguments against change.
Everyone, regardless of their origins, deserving some basic human rights. Kindness—something that should exist in everyone’s heart. If the Grinch could learn compassion, can’t we all? A safe place to sleep at night, which most people take for granted, is a fundamental right. Most importantly, everyone deserves to feel welcomed by their surrounding community. The current U.S. policy on refugees falls short in delivering these three essentials things, and changes are unquestionably needed.
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