The same refrain is heard after every tragedy — don’t politicize the issue.
But that’s exactly what Gov. Scott Walker and 26 other governors around this country are doing in the wake of the Paris attacks, fear-mongering in the most un-American way possible: closing our doors to those seeking a better life and denying them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Walker announced Monday the state of Wisconsin would not take part in the federal resettlement process for Syrian refugees and would not accept any new Syrian refugees into the state.
“In light of these horrific and tragic attacks, our first priority must be to protect our citizens … I have deep concerns about the Obama Administration’s plan to accept 10,000 or more Syrian refugees, especially given that one of the Paris attackers was reportedly a Syrian refugee,” Walker said in a statement.
Walker: ‘The state of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees’While the refugee resettlement process falls under federal governance, Gov. Scott Walker announced in a statement Monday that Wisconsin will not Read…
But here’s the thing — authorities aren’t even sure if any of the assailants in the Paris attacks were Syrian refugees. All of the attackers identified so far have been European nationals.
To equate Syrian refugees with terrorists in order to advance a political agenda is Islamophobia and xenophobia at its height.
There’s a sentiment that’s been going around the past few days, but it can’t be stressed enough — the refugees are fleeing the same terror that was inflicted in Paris. To turn them away is to turn our back on humanitarian and American values.
More than 4 million people have fled Syria since the violence started and it’s estimated that another 7.6 million are internally displaced. The U.S. has taken in less than 2,000 Syrian refugees since 2012, and of those Wisconsin has taken in less than 10. President Barack Obama’s plan to take in 10,000 refugees next year is already meager in comparison to other nations, but to try to block that effort is shameful.
Walker’s “security concerns” neglect the fact that there is an incredibly intense and lengthy screening process in place for Syrian refugees, which generally takes 18 months to two years.
Obama is right not to curtail his plan to admit more refugees next year and he spoke boldly Monday at the G20 summit.
“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism,” Obama said. “They are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents. They are children. They are orphans and it is very important … that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.”
Walker and the other 26 governors conveniently forget our history as a nation of immigrants, and their rhetoric plays right into the hands of ISIL.
One of ISIL’s goals is to polarize society so much that Muslims in the West would no longer be welcome in their own societies, and there would be no coexistence between religious groups.
When politicians respond to terrorists’ intolerance with their own, it’s the terrorists who win.
Nicolas Henin, who was held hostage by ISIL for 10 months, says it plainly: What ISIL fears is unity.
#PorteOuverte (Open Door) trended globally Friday night, as Parisians opened their doors and took in anybody who couldn’t get home and needed a place to sleep. Even amid chaos and as a tragedy was still unfolding, Parisians welcomed strangers and gave them a refuge.
Now is the time for Walker and our state to follow in fraternity — in the spirit of our nation’s oldest ally — and make sure our doors are open too.