Opinion: Increased refugee entry will help Syrian war victims

Posted on Apr 11 2017 - 7:59am by Daniel Payne

Last week, the world watched in horror as innocent Syrians, including children, were attacked with chemical weapons by their own government.

This is not the first chemical attack the people of Syria have endured, and without action, it probably will not be the last.

President Trump responded to the atrocities, saying the attack “crossed many, many lines,” adding that the situation in Syria was now his responsibility.

The compassion President Trump expressed is honorable, but deciding how to respond to this situation can be very difficult. The attack conducted Thursday proved to be controversial and caused people to worry about another Middle East military disaster.

There is one response, however, that would save lives without the risks of increased military involvement: allowing more refugees to enter the country.

I find it strange that Trump is deeply moved by the photos of children affected by chemical weapons but is unchanged by the photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose body washed ashore after he drowned trying to escape the civil war.

Though the immigration ban was overturned by federal courts, the plight of the Syrian refugee remains. Many are still searching for asylum, with developed nations contributing disproportionately less to their needs.

America is even trailing in this comparison; Canada has settled more than twice as many Syrian refugees since the crisis began. Trump argues refugees are dangerous and could be terrorists, though there is little to no evidence to support this claim.

Trump is against immigration more than he is opposed to military involvement.

The question, then, is: Why would the United States consider military action before considering helping those in need as a solution to this global problem?

One answer could be the partisan lens through which Trump sees many issues. His new budget cuts the National Endowment for the Arts, National Parks, the Environmental Protection Agency and countless other governmental programs while adding to military spending. It is clear that Trump is for a much stronger military at the expense of smaller, less costly programs.

It is no surprise, then, that the first solution Trump would reach for would be the military when a problem arises. While this may help, a far more effective solution, in economic and humanitarian terms, would be opening our doors to more refugees.

Even if we were to fight the Assad regime, the United States is complicit in his crimes when we refuse to allow those in need into our country.

There are few hypocrisies more egregious than lamenting the death of children by a ruthless leader while ruthlessly leading a country to actively refuse refugees the help they need.

Daniel Payne is a freshman integrated marketing communications major from Collierville, Tennessee.