Representatives of Young Democrats and College Republicans discuss the Trump administration's decision to lower the number of people allowed to seek asylum in the United States
According to the United Nations, there is an all-time high of 69 million people who have been forced to leave their home countries. During this time of absolute crisis for so many, our xenophobic administration has decided to lower next year’s refugee quota to only 30,000 — an amount numerically lower than the amount allowed into the country at the creation of the program in 1980.
This is an absolute step in the wrong direction as our previous quota of 45,000 was already an embarrassingly low amount considering our massive population and an economy that according to our president is “the greatest economy in the history of America.”
Countries such as Germany, which accepted 1.1 million refugees in 2016 alone, and Canada, which despite being roughly one-tenth the population of the U.S. is projected to accept more refugees than us in 2019, understand both the humanitarian need of helping those displaced, as well as the practicality.
Refugees, especially in the U.S. are some of the hardest working people the country can be proud to house within its borders. When refugees enter the country, they are given assistance in obtaining work through the government or private charities. Through this, they serve as productive members of society and serve to bolster our workforce. In an economy like the one we have currently, the president displays hypocrisy in arguing we cannot or should not support refugees.
Beyond the initial justification of practicality, what is more important is our moral duty as humans to help our fellow man. As a country that has the ability to make a difference and save millions of lives, we have a duty to do so. Our nation must look past the narrow-minded, impractical and immoral mindset of our administration dubbed “America first.”
We must extend our hand to the tired, poor and huddled masses of the world and be willing to devote ourselves to an issue larger than any single country. We have a duty, not as Americans but as humans to use our means for assistance. In today’s world, one in which we are so aware of the struggles of those displaced, we as a nation must understand there is no place for isolationism.
Our administration must begin to understand refugees not as threats to our country, but as people in need. Too often our leaders act in fear of what they deem as other based off of xenophobic American tendencies. As citizens of a country built almost entirely of immigrants and refugees, the president and those he has appointed lack empathy in their decision to bar those in need from entering a country they tout as the land of opportunity.
Anthony Willins is the president of the Young Democrats.
First, when looking at this question holistically, I think that it’s important to look at the wording, mainly at the fact that it attaches a negative connotation to an argument not yet fully developed. The way it is presented follows like this: America and the administration are doing something wrong with the issue of immigration, before even knowing the facts and reasons.
It’s not that the current administration is “lowering the number of refugees” allowed to enter the country, but simply rather a matter of a change in process. Any person coming to this country should be coming here with the utmost, greatest of intentions, and with growing hostility toward America, at moments, we cannot fully be sure of that.
Having this mindset at hand, we have to remember there is a difference between immigration and illegal immigration. With the proper process, refuge in this country brings diversity and new thought to a nation, a characteristic that truly makes America stand apart. But without proper action taken, we as the United States can easily be taken advantage of.
Simply put, the president is ensuring that the needs of Americans are taken care of first, before we can lend a hand in helping others.
While some might consider this a selfish action, in actuality it is taking care of our own people. Now, I agree we have a commitment to humanity, but our government has a commitment to the American people, keeping us safe physically and economically, sheltering us from any threat or fear of such.
Nikki Haley, ambassador to the U.N. recently appeared on CNN and was asked how the nation is trying to assist Syrian reconstruction while the Trump administration is limiting numbers of refugees. She replied to this by saying, “What we're saying is, there's a lot of things that have to happen before reconstruction is even talked about, and it's not just going to be the U.S. Other countries have to weigh in. But right now, you've got a very sensitive situation in Syria, and Russia has to step up. They took responsibility for this; they've got to manage it. They can't sit there and do whatever they want, allowing the Iranians to continue to have influence when they're the biggest sponsor of terrorism, and then turn around and have their hand out [and] asking us for money in return.”
I would have to agree with Ambassador Haley. America shouldn’t be the only one stepping up, and there are factors beyond the surface that go into the refugee crisis.
Our own country’s safety hangs in the balance of protecting those coming from a dangerous situation and protecting those who call this place home. If we truly hope to find a solution, the best time is now, as one college community standing together wanting the best for America moving forward.
Olivia Johnston is the president of the College Republicans.