United States should step up its aid in the Syrian Crisis

Tyra Christopherson and Sara Flash

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Four and a half years ago, in March 2011, the Syrian crises began. Since then, 220,000 people—half of whom are civilians—have become casualties of the conflict. To escape the violence, four million Syrian refugees have fled the country, and more leave their homeland every day. These refugees need a place to take them in, and that’s where we come in as a nation. In September, Obama announce that the United States will take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.
Concerns with welcoming refugees
Some Americans have voiced worries about bringing in Syrian refugees, hinting that we would be opening our country up to terrorists.
“Our enemy now is Islamic terrorism, and these people are coming from a country filled with Islamic terrorists,” New York representative Peter T. King said.
But this is far-fetched. While many terrorists are from the Middle East, not many Middle Easterners are terrorists. Furthermore, the presence of terrorist groups in Syria is one factor contributing to the crises that drives many Syrians to leave their war-torn country.
The 10,000 people who will be seeking refuge in the U.S. will be anything but terrorists. And how could they be? Over half of those who have left Syria are under 18 years old, and the U.S. is offering to them a safe place to be during the ongoing Syrian crisis. This gesture wouldn’t be reciprocated with acts of terrorism.
Bringing in more refugees
Although Obama’s choice to take in more refugees is a step in the right direction, the U.S. needs to increase its efforts to help displaced Syrians. Germany expects to have welcomed 800,000 refugees by the end of the year—and it’s over 32 times smaller than the United States. Why can’t we, as a much larger country with many resources, help out in a similar way?
The underlying problem is the annual cap of 70,000 that limits the U.S. intake of refugees. Compared to Germany, which took in over 50,000 Syrians in one week alone, this number is too small , and it needs to be raised quickly.
In late September, Secretary of State John Kerry announced plans to incrementally raise the cap to 100,000 refugees a year. In 2016, the limit will be raised to 85,000 refugees, and in 2017, to 100,000 refugees. However, this gradual process has come under criticism from spokespersons for various advocacy groups, including Eleanor Acer, director of the refugee protection program at Humans Rights First.
“This kind of piecemeal, incremental approach is not enough to effectively address this crisis,” Acer said.
The fact is, the Syrian crisis is occurring right now. Raising the limit of refugees will help more Syrians eventually—but only if the crises continues. We need the limit to be raised now so that the refugees can benefit.
As an international image of freedom and liberty, we have a certain responsibility to the citizens of the world. More refugees should be welcomed into our country; it’s our duty.