Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: Xenophobia and Intolerance Towards Refugees


These gentlemen say there is no way to verify that the refugees are not members of the terrorist group Islamic State. It is not true.

With the controversy over the hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping from Syria, we are at a turning point for our country in which we have to decide how we want to be judged in the eyes of the world. Despite the recent deplorable attacks in Paris, we must not cast aside our values ​​of compassion, generosity and tolerance that are instilled in the founding documents of this great nation and with which many in our community have demonstrated in starting a new life here. We recently had a humanitarian crisis when more than 69 thousand children from Central America came to this country unaccompanied by their parents, many fleeing violence in those countries. This situation is no different to the humanitarian crisis in Europe, as Syrian and Iraqi refugees flee from violence, civil war and terrorism and we must reach out and help.

Unfortunately, this sentiment is not shared by the Republican Party and its candidates running for president of the United States. The frontrunner in the Republican nomination, Donald Trump, along with Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida, both Cuban Americans, have said that we have to close the country’s border and deny refuge to groups of people fleeing and looking for a better life.

These gentlemen say there is no way to verify that the refugees are not members of the terrorist group the Islamic State. Is not true. These are excuses based on xenophobia and intolerance, and seek to instill fear in the electorate for their political gains. Most frustrating of all is that these senators should be on the side of allowing refugees to enter the country in the past. Their own parents came to this country as refugees. How hypocritical!

Why would these senators deny a group of people who are vulnerable and at risk of death if they cannot move to countries where they can rebuild their new lives without fear of living under the command of the so-called ‘Islamic state’? The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, also supports legislative action to prevent President Obama from allowing 10 thousand refugees, which he committed to doing in September of this year. It’s not just Republicans in Congress who are against receiving refugees from Syria and Iraq. There are now 30 Republican governors who have said they will not let refugees resettle in their states. These sentiments say a lot to about this party and the values ​​that guide them.

There is no doubt that we need to thoroughly vet anyone who seeks to enter the country, and in fact a stringent process already exists. To ensure those entering mean no harm to our citizens, refugees must go through an intense process before they are admitted into the country. President Obama emphasized the cowardice of the Republicans and noted last week during a press conference that the same Republicans running for president that complained about tough debate questions a few weeks ago are now “afraid of widows and orphans coming to America.” That is not strong leadership, Obama said.

How well do you think the Republicans could confront Vladimir Putin if you do not even have the courage to defend the values ​​that founded this great nation? Friends, we must maintain our compassion for our brothers in the Middle East, having faith that we can move forward as citizens of the world living in peace.


This column originally appeared in the Washington Hispanic