Before you jump down my throat, please give me a chance to beg for all of you to keep your doors open. Do not close that door. Keep it open for all of the refugees and humans out there seeking refuge in our country.
I have the most bias opinion though. I’m the daughter of two refugees. I grew up in an enclave of refugees seeking greatness in America. Sure they didn’t go through Ellis Island, but my parents were the original “boat people”. They escaped in the night on small fisherman boats and fled family and self-established success for political, social, and personal freedoms. My parents were 2 of the 800,000 war refugees accepted into America from the “boat people” migration (to loosely term it). America once accepted, with hesitant but open arms, 800,000 refugees. Yet now, in this newly met crisis, America is closing her doors.
When I heard of this crisis, this surge of movement in the Mediterranean, I didn’t feel much. When I saw the picture of the boy that had been washed ashore after drowning in an escape attempt, I felt disturbed but also a little apathetic. When I heard the story of the Syrian refugee that used Facebook to contact his sister in America that he was lost at sea, I felt relieved that he found safety, but thought no further for what his next step in life may be. These are stories and names and pictures that have painted the refugee crisis and pulled the world’s attention. I felt bad and donated some money, but didn’t think I had any personal tie to the situation. After all, I don’t know anyone in that area.
But I was ignorant and naive for not making the connection that these refugees are the modern-day versions of my parents, cousins, and friends that faced the same thing back in the 1980’s. They all run from their homes, fueled by fear of execution and hope of safety. So I think now, what if America had closed its doors on Mama and Papa Nguyen? What if America had only accepted 10,000 refugees and not 800,000? What if only one of my parents were to be accepted into the land of the free?
A lot of “what if” crossed my mind. I don’t worry about it too much because, regardless of the hypothetical possibilities, my parents made it. I was born and raised in this glorious country and hope to someday give back all that is offered to me. I love it here. In each of those refugees, they seek the same that Mama and Papa Nguyen did: refuge.
The arguments presented when this topic comes up are widely scattered. Some fear the economy, some fear of accidentally letting in terrorists, some fear the safety of their homes. Totally understandable. I agree, it is scary to let strangers into our communities. I read on Facebook that we have to keep in mind that it’s not like we don’t want to welcome, but sometimes people close their doors in an effort to protect what they have, not to shut others out. I get it, I do, really.
But it isn’t like the refugees are mindless wanderers with no skills. These people range from engineers to doctors to accountants to humanitarians to bright students to prospective children. These people don’t plan to come to America to use up ObamaCare and food stamps and couch surf. These are people of dignity and courage, that will at first use our resources to get back on their feet, but one day repay the country in greater ways than we can imagine. These are men and women determined to find success in the medical field, in service, in technology, in politics, and more, yet we turn them away. Why should we bother to imagine the potential greatness when we can set the country on the path towards a better future, I can’t say.
As for the concern of letting in terrorists, well, there’s not much to say about that. It’s possible to somehow have a potential ISIS member slip into our communities to only destroy what we hold safe. But it’s also possible that those unwanted figures are already within our walls. It’s possible that these awful entities are currently planning attacks on freedom right now. Yet when has that ever stopped America from anything?? We are a nation of pride, courage, strength, and faith. Have faith in each other to protect one another, have faith in our government and FBI to prevent these attacks, have faith in our new neighbors to become Americans.
If we shut the door though, and we don’t let any of those refugees in, where will they go? Where will the mothers and fathers and students and hope go? Can we sit back and hope other nations will step up to the leadership that we so happily gloat about? How can we be the leader of the free world if we can’t offer any freedom?
I know there’s a lot that I have not and will not touch on (statistics, economics, legal matters) pertaining the refugees. This article is just meant to share my opinion and maybe even spark conversation. But I implore all of you to contact your senators and urge them to let in these human beings searching for the beacon of hope our Lady Liberty so brightly holds.
As a country found by settlers seeking freedom from persecution, I believe we have a responsibility to open our doors. As a race of human beings, I believe we owe it to one another to welcome our brothers and sisters; we are no different. We have culture and language, morals and values, souls and minds. Our origins should not separate us. Our circumstances should not define us. In America, we fight to accept the rights of all: black or white, heterosexual or anywhere on the spectrum we may fall. So how come now, we choose to define our fellow siblings by where they were born or raised. Kanye was born in Atlanta and Soros survived Nazi occupation and Drake started from the bottom, but now the whole team here. The strongest, most diligent, most courageous influences in America have come from trials and tribulations.
I’m just saying, let’s give our neighbors across the globe a chance.
Find out how to contact your senator here.