I have tried to stay on the sidelines in the Syrian refugee crisis. It is a deep concern of mine in many aspects. My reasons for not publicly commenting on this are very simple. I don’t want my readers to get sidetracked from education issues I write about. The extremes on this issue among Delaware citizens is very apparent. I have seen people de-friend others on Facebook because they don’t agree with their point of view. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground on these issues. I see very Liberal citizens completely blasting Democrat politicians because they don’t agree with Governor Markell or President Obama. I see those on the far right continue to trash those who seek equity in our society.
The plain and simple fact is this: there is a very huge population of people in this world who have no choice but to leave their country for fear of their very lives. This is the reality. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of that and come to other countries to perpetuate terror. We saw it in Boston and Paris in recent years. When do the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many? When does the safety and concern for a country’s current citizens become more paramount than those who are not even having their basic needs met? This is the crux of these issues. Both sides have valid points that warrant further discussion. What drives me crazy is the polarizing effect this has on social media. I see this with gay marriage and abortion as well. I cringe when I see very blatant and racist comments when the News Journal posts anything directly related to race on Facebook.
In matters of education, I fully understand I am extremely polarizing on certain issues. I have never de-friended someone on Facebook though if they don’t agree with my opinion. I will argue it until the cows come home, but I won’t shut them out. As a society, we have become very quick to draw that line in the sand.
With that being said, I am taking a stand on the refugee crisis. I do not think Americans should be put in harms way for the sake of individuals from another country. While I realize there is more chance of a plane crash happening than a terrorist attack on US soil, the implications and consequences of another event would be long-term and damaging. I don’t believe the US Government can say with 100% certainty that the vetting process is reliable. While there is a chance, I can’t support accepting refugees from Syria. This will tick off many who believe I am a Progressive Liberal. If anything I am a Progressive Conservative Independent Republican Democrat. It really depends on the issues. In a nutshell, I am in the middle. On this issue, I don’t think the risk of American lives being lost and disrupted is worth it. 9/11 haunted me for many years. To this day, I always cry on the anniversary. I didn’t lose anyone that day, but it felt like America was ripped apart and we lost something that day. It was our sense of safety and security.
Today I received an email as I do every day from various groups and organizations on both sides of the fence on numerous issues. Upon reading the below letter, I felt it best exemplified my thoughts and concerns with the refugee crisis. I am posting it here because it is an important issue and a well written letter that best shows where I stand on this issue. This does not mean I agree with every single aspect of the groups who signed onto this letter. But on this issue, I stand with their opinions. I do not think it is a racism or discrimination issue but rather a safety issue. There is a very clear distinction between the two.
An Open Letter to Governor Jack Markell,
In a unified and sincere concern for the safety and economic health of Delaware’s families, we urge you to reconsider your position to relocate “Syrian refugees” into Delaware communities. We ask that you join the 30 other state governors in placing the safety and reasonable concern of your constituents above any other consideration or agenda.
We all share your compassion for those who are suffering and want those who truly need refuge to get it. Like you, we recognize that true Syrian refugees need a safe harbor. That safe harbor is best found in Middle Eastern countries near their homeland beyond the reach of the present violence. The first and most immediate safe place in the region meets their need for safety. Their need is not tax payer supplied housing and EBT cards in Dover, Newark or Seaford, in a culture completely foreign to their Islamic worldview, and 6000 miles from their known way of life.
We know from the recent European experience that “Syrian refugees” comprise people from a dozen or so countries from Morocco to Afghanistan. Claims in Washington of a robust vetting procedure prior to entry to US are not credible. The FBI has reportedly said it is impossible to vet that many people before they come into our country. Representative Carney and Senator Coons have both expressed their concerns in light of this information.
We are equally concerned that your support for President Obama’s planned action reflects a disconnect from those you serve in Delaware. Delaware families are being profoundly impacted by limited resources including a lack of care for our veterans, also a concern of yours. Heroin use is at an epidemic level in our state and destroying families and communities daily. Wilmington continues to suffer from uncontrolled crime and there is a growing racial discontent. We still face inequalities and deficiencies in our state’s education system that may likely place added burdens on the state’s budget. The people of Delaware just cannot afford the cost, financial and otherwise, of your plan to add to those needing assistance in our state.
You will recall the Tsarnaev family; taken in by the state of Massachusetts under condition of asylum. The cost to the taxpayer of their direct and indirect benefits exceeded one million dollars. No one in that family ever became self-sufficient or safely acclimated in the U.S.
As you know the two sons of that family killed 3 innocent people with a homemade bomb at the Boston Marathon. Over 200 other innocent people were seriously wounded in the blast. After years in this country they acted with deadly violence as they believed their faith dictates.
Finally, the Tsarnaev family was fully and completely vetted by our Federal immigration authorities as applicants of asylum.
Ultimately, this “compassionate gesture” is estimated to cost the state over 100 million dollars. This cost extended beyond the social benefits taken by the family. It ultimately included, police operations and manhunt, emergency care for the survivors, hospitalization of the wounded, reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation and prostheses needs, business disruption, criminal investigation, state prosecution and public defender costs, and forward projected prison costs; all paid by Massachusetts tax payers.
We are faced with new and uncertain dangers that can only increase as we neglect to control those who gain access to our country. We ask that you block state funding of any sort that would be needed and allocated to resettle this population in Delaware. Importing persons from a vastly different culture and trying to integrate them is exorbitantly expensive and the unpredictable results can be devastating.
Our groups collectively represent many thousands of Delawareans who are passionate, engaged, and aware of the realities of recent events in this world conducted by a few Islamic radicals. As Governor, your heaviest burden and first concern must be for the safety and common well-being of the people in Delaware. We ask that you recognize the proven risk associated with similar relocation programs. We further request that you use your authority, in the best interest and public safety of Delaware families and communities, to obstruct President Obama’s ill-considered relocation plan.
912 Delaware Patriots
Faith and Freedom Coalition Delaware
Central Delaware NAACP
Rev. Dr. Shawn Greener
Frederick Douglass Foundation of Delaware – Sussex County
Institute on the Constitution