By Siraj Hashmi
After the terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, 352 wounded and one of the most powerful European nations in mourning, French President Francois Hollande announced on Wednesday that France will continue to allow 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years.
"Life must go on," he said in a statement.
Here in Washington, DC, however, many lawmakers including some Democrats are going against President Obama's plan to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 289-137 on a bill that will require new screening requirements on refugees from Syria and Iraq before they can enter the United States.
Of the 289 who voted for the bill, 47 Democrats defied the President's veto threat and supported the bill, which is enough to override a presidential veto.
The bill will now go to the Senate, where it's expected to face a stiff challenge to passage.
"Don't worry, it won't get passed," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate.
While the issue is being debated in Congress, much of the concern over Syrian refugees hasn't been the actual refugees themselves, rather the possibility that members from the terrorist group, ISIS (also known as Daesh), will find a way into the United States by posing as refugees going through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program.
Congressman Bob Dold, a Republican from the 10th District in Illinois, supported the bill, saying to GVH Live, "our security forces and intelligence agencies [need] to have the ability to ensure the safety and security of the United States."
However, many millennials are pushing back on this idea, especially when, just this week, governors from 30 out of 50 states announced they wouldn't accept Syrian refugees.
"There's no way that terrorists can blend in with Syrian refugees, unless they want to play the long con game," said Esther Lee in an interview with GVH Live. Lee, an immigration reporter who writes for ThinkProgress.org, which is a branch of the think-tank, Center for American Progress, wrote a recent article about how long and how difficult it is to actually enter the United States as a refugee.
Laila Alawa has firsthand knowledge of this.
Alawa, a Danish-born Syrian immigrant who came to the United States as a child (but not a refugee), recounted her story on Twitter about the difficulties in even gaining a green card and citizenship because of her ethnicity and religion. However, Alawa's biggest gripe with the current discourse on Syrian refugees is the lack of empathy amongst the American public.
"It is so easy for people to dehumanize others that are just like them," said Alawa to GVH Live. "It should be a part of who we are as Americans to welcome these individuals into better lives and a better America."
For more visit GVH Live.