The United States needs to accept more refugees

Beginning in 2011 with pro-democracy protests that quickly erupted into violent confrontations between the government (Assad regime) forces and rebel opposition, Syria’s civil war has been a downward spiral into unstoppable chaos. Despite the call for international attention, Syria’s ongoing conflicts continue to kill thousands of civilians. Furthermore, more than 11 million people have been displaced since the start of the war, and of those, around 4.5 million refugees have left Syria, according to the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC). In the devastating and hopeless war zone, Islamic extremist groups, namely Islamic State, have been able to gain a foothold in large areas of Syria.
With recruitment rates soaring in areas of devastation, worries have grown over the spread of the terrorist group’s influence as thousands of refugees leave the country daily.
The Paris shootings shocked the West, bringing to light the horrifying possibility that even an area of peace like France can be severely disrupted by Islamic extremism. A Syrian passport found at the scene created some ambiguity, as many pointed to Syrian refugees as a vein for the extremist group. However, no certainty exists on this issue.
Furthermore, the recent Jihadist-inspired attacks in the United States in San Bernardino, Calif., in which 14 victims were slain during a holiday party, brought great concern to the American people in regard to the spread of extremism in the United states. However, in this case, the Islamic State’s influence was spread through social media, not refugees.
In September, the Obama administration proposed plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Following the attacks, many states’ governors shared their interior xenophobic agenda by stating that they would bar refugees from entering their states. Several Republican candidates also promoted, to their political favor, anti-Muslim views.
The United States has accepted very few refugees, around 1400 according to the BBC, relative to the 4.5 million people who have fled Syria. This barely compares to Syria’s neighboring countries, who have been overwhelmed by the flow of displaced families, which surged in 2013 due to worsened wartime conditions.
If the United States wants to combat extremism, they should reduce the number of people in need of humanitarian aide. Not so ironically, Islamic State has proliferated in areas of extreme civil unrest. Rejecting refugees, contributing to the oppression of displaced civilians is no way to combat an extremist ideology.