Refugees are people just like us, students, doctors, artists, business owners, entrepreneurs and teachers. Now what would you do, if overnight you, an American, became a refugee due to war? What would you do if Mexico and Canada put up gates and fences on the border? Your children and parents forced into the ocean to try to make your way to Europe.
You would hope that they would treat you with human dignity. You would expect they would provide you safe haven and protection. You would believe they would not turn you back around into the ocean or force you across the border to another country to face a firing border security squad. You would hope they would welcome you, and not attempt to single you out based on the color of your skin, your race/ethnicity or religion. We as Americans should remember this fact.
We cannot become complacent about the millions of human lives endangered all over the world. There has been plenty of lip service by the White House but little substantive action to provide lifesaving shelter in the World's Largest Refugee Crisis. There are over 65 million people displaced worldwide and over 20 million refugees, 6 million are Syrian Refugees.
The White House pledged to raise the ceiling of refugee admittance to 100,000. But this is nothing in comparison to actual hosting of 2.5 million refugees by Turkey, 1.6 million refugees by Pakistan, 1.1 million refugees by Lebanon. 10,000 Syrian refugees are supposed to be admitted in the United States this year, but all the arbitrary and discriminatory Congressional bills continue to attempt to undermine these efforts to the extent that only 1,736 Syrian refugees have been admitted since the fiscal year. This is embarrassing as compared to Canada's resettlement of nearly 26,000 Syrian refugees in 4 months.
Millions have fled war, government abuse, and terrorism. The human rights implications are profound and yet refugees still have hope and immense courage. We cannot let discriminatory motivated and hateful rhetoric allow refugees to get caught in the red tape. This is counterproductive to the purpose of the Refugee Program, which is to provide immediate safe haven, not 2-4 years later.
History warns us of the tragic denial of refugees fleeing religious persecution from Germany under the same arbitrary and hateful rhetoric. We sent thousands of human beings back to their death. Our government had classified these refugees in the same vain as they do today as at risk and threatened national security based on their identity, being Jewish.
We must welcome refugees and celebrate all the contribution refugees have made to this country, like Albert Einstein, the First Female U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and Raphael Lumpkin (the author of the UN Genocide Convention). Refugees are an asset, providing immense potential, skills and talents. Refugees make this country stronger and we should be proud to welcome refugees as a badge of honor against hate and bigotry, and testament to freedom and equality for all.