By Chris Pippin
Saco Speaks 

What to Do About Refugees?


Collateral damage: n. Unintended damage, injuries, or deaths caused by an action, especially unintended civilian casualties caused by a military operation.

In a place that has been ravaged by civil war for four and a half years, the fleeing refugees are collateral damage.

Syria’s troubles existed long before the Arab Spring in 2011, however. Iran’s closest ally has been involved in trouble in the Middle East as far back as my memory goes. I am by no means an expert in Middle East issues or relations, but even I can see that those fleeing, innocent civilians are at their greatest peril.

But what to do about the refugees?

I’m sure most people are as haunted by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as I am. Could this happen here in America? The answer is yes. Yes it could happen here whether or not we take in people who are removed from their homes by choice or circumstance. We have a burgeoning immigrant population from the Middle East. Can some of them be “lone wolf” attackers waiting for their chance to pounce? Why would they come here? Surely not everyone who comes here wishes to inflict harm on us, but there will be some who do.

But what to do about the refugees?

I am torn with this issue. The “realist” side of me says, “Let them stay where they are, they are not my problem!” He, the realist in my brain, knows that if we keep everyone out not a bad one will come in. We surely do not want our population to be collateral damage in a conflict that is looking more and more like it will end up in war, possibly a world war at that!

The “idealist” in me says, “Look at those poor people. They can’t all be bad! Look at the children; they have never had the chance to be children!” He, the bleeding heart as the realist calls him, knows that most of the population that is needing refuge does not want to do us harm, that they would like nothing better than to go home, if possible.

But what to do?

This question is far beyond my pay scale. I think if we were able to set up humane refugee camps, with policing and definite, enforceable borders (as our country’s borders should be) we could show them an America that used to exist but now only does in history books.

Or did it? John Adams, our second President, signed into law the Alien & Sedition Act in 1798, the second year of his term. Coincidentally it was because of the French Revolution going on at the time. America could detain and deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” any time they pleased. Talk about your freedom of speech infringement!

Regardless of whether or not our history as a nation contains a Utopian period or not, we have a duty to refugees to try to offer help. I see in the news tonight that several states are looking into denying refugees into their borders, even Montana; another victory for the terrorists. Every time we alter our lifestyle to “protect” ourselves from something that has happened in the past we let them win another battle against our freedom, and now we want to withhold our generosity and compassion. I remember when I could board an airplane without taking my shoes off and emptying my pockets to then be scanned where a TSA agent can see literally every part of my body. Mark that up as a win for jihad! If we turn away from people in need, especially when it is possibly dangerous, we are nothing but cowards. Good Samaritans? Hardly! The whole point of that story is when it is inconvenient we are to do kindness to strangers. The Samaritans and Jews were bitter enemies, but the Samaritan did not let politics get in the way of his humanity.

But what to do about the refugees?

I think the bleeding heart in me is beating a little louder than the realist is shouting in my brain.


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