This was a speech I gave in my AP History class this year, that I felt I did well on. I really wanted to share what I presented so here it is. Thanks.
In 2011, about 50,000 Syrians were recorded as refugees. In 2012, this number rose to almost half a million. Between 2013 and 2015, the count rose to about 4 million refugees.
The US is one of the greatest donors of humanitarian assistance to the Syrians. However, we haven’t acted enough by not taking in many refugees. About 2000 reside in America, while more than a million remain in countries in the Middle East, and 200,000 in European countries like Germany and Sweden. I say take in 60,000 per year. Let us boost it from 10,000, as proposed by Obama and his administration, to a good 60,000. The number may seem shocking, but compared to the size of the crisis, I’d say it’s minimal.
Republicans oppose Obama and his party, who emphasized the importance of not closing our hearts to these victims. Trump says we cannot take in these refugees, because America already has too many problems. Ted Cruz says these Syrians should remain in the Middle East where there is a majority of Muslims. This shows that the issue is not only the bringing in of tens of thousands of Syrians, but bringing in “Muslims”, causing an even greater issue: racism: the assumption that terrorists can only be Muslim, and that to prevent terrorism in America we have to keep the Muslims out of the country.
It is understandable that people have been shaken to the core ever since it was proclaimed that a Syrian fleeing the civil war was involved in the Paris attacks. Or when the multiple threats have been sent our way from ISIS. People feel we are letting terrorists walk into our front door.
On the contrary, I say, “Lay the racism, the assumptions, and the generalization aside”.
Our country is the city on a hill, as Winthrop would have agreed. The US is known for its values, its American Dream. We must remain committed to these values of tolerance, equality, and acceptance.If we want to combat extremism, take in the refugees, rather than letting them rot in terrible camps where they have a greater chance of turning to extremism.
These refugees cannot survive in the terrible conditions they are living through, in countries like Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan that have limited resources, and are at a breaking point that will only worsen the issue if we continue to halt their entering in America. They are trapped in further conflict upon seeking refuge in these countries.
Syria is shattered. We must be human, and work gradually towards improving the future of both our nation and Syria. Safety is most important in a time such as this, and if we refuse to provide it, this city on a hill won’t live up to its word. Thank you.