Rights For Refugees

Picture courtesy of Kate Murray

Picture courtesy of Kate Murray

Tracie-Lynn Lamoreux, Staff Reporter

America is a country built on the backs of immigrants and refugees, however, as time goes on we become more and more opposed to the idea of immigration and refugees settling in our country. With the presidential election coming up in a little over a year, a not-so-taboo topic has erupted from the mouths of presidential candidates as they share their ideas on immigration and the problems that they seem to think come with it.

In case you’re not familiar with who or what a refugee may be here’s a brief synopsis: a refugee is a person who is forced out of their own country if deemed too dangerous to stay. This may be a result of war, political factors, natural disaster, and many more issues. With ISIS only growing stronger in the regions of Syria and Iraq, more families are forced to relocate. At the end of 2013, there were an appalling amount of 16.7 million refugees worldwide.

Although it’s certainly more popular for refugees to relocate to European countries, what would happen if they wanted to come here? Our country provides great benefits for migrants. Excuse my ignorance, but I know that there is probably some government officials that will eventually find a way around the law to make sure it is very hard, if not impossible, for refugees to have a full, pleasurable life in America. Today’s social norms almost forbid the practice of Islamic culture, which is the most common religion for a majority of refugees.

There is also a problem with families and their children fleeing from their homes. They’re not quite making it to another country, but instead forced to tread the open waters of the Indian Ocean. I don’t know about you, but I would get pretty tired of that. I can’t quite make it up the staircase without taking a breather, so I can’t even begin to imagine nor relate to the situation these people are experiencing. In fact, bodies have washed ashore of those who just couldn’t make it that long. What does this say about the countries who are supposed to be helping?

Not only do we strip away their culture, we degrade them. According to a recent Gallup poll, significant percentages of several Western countries share this sentiment, saying that the West does not respect Muslim societies. Specifically, 52% of Americans and 48% of Canadians say the West does not respect Muslim societies. We basically tell them, “Of course it’s okay for you to take shelter in our loving country, but don’t steal our jobs, don’t cause crime, and don’t be Muslim!”. That’s okay to say, right? Of course not. Well, here’s my honest opinion: refugees are people and people deserve the right to live. It’s our job, as people who already have that right to ensure that for them.