Carstens: We have a global responsibility to help with the Syrian refugee crisis

Columnist Carstens believes that the U.S. needs to step up and take a leading role in global crises.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Columnist Carstens believes that the U.S. needs to step up and take a leading role in global crises.

Courtney Carstens

The United States had been viewed as a world leader since the early 1900s by both the nation itself and the world. But recent actions have made me question whether this country is acting like the leader we perceive it to be. Those actions include the lack of involvement of our country in helping solve the Syrian refugee crisis that is greatly affecting the world.

Our nation is the leader of the world and yet it is allowing the least amount of Syrian refugees to enter. The lack of urgency to this particular humanitarian crisis should make us, as citizens, question our nation’s genuine generosity.

A report from the White House stated that Obama will heighten the Syrian admittance rate into the U.S. to 10,000 individuals in the next fiscal year, which is double the president’s original number, according to CNN reporters Laura Koran, Elise Labott, Jim Acosta and Deirdre Walsh. This number is still far from where it should be, considering countries such as Germany and Great Britain are allowing their limits to exceed ours by a minimum of 10,000 individuals.

Some politicians and other government officials, like Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., have criticized the idea of heightening the number of refugees by saying that we have to avoid another Boston Marathon bombing.

Not only is this insinuation completely uneducated, but we have no way of knowing if any of the Syrian refugees are actually ISIS supporters who are trying to cause chaos in the U.S.

I believe that since this nation is viewed as a leader in the world, it needs to start acting like one. The U.S. should have been the first country to open its doors to these innocent people, but it was one of the last. These politicians make it sound like this problem is only an American problem when in fact it’s a worldwide problem.

Syria has been greatly affected by ISIS, which is the main reason that so many of its citizens are leaving the country. I will be one of the first to say that I want to avoid another Boston Marathon bombing, but we can take preventive measures to ensure these people are not ISIS supporters.

The average time it takes a Syrian to legally enter the U.S. is about a year to a year and a half, which should be enough time to do sufficient background checks on the individuals who wish to enter our country. 

The Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This almost directly implies that the U.S. should welcome the poor and tired, or refugees of other countries. Syrian refugees make up about 0.1 percent of the entire U.S. population, which makes the U.S. country one of the smallest host countries.

While Obama has taken a step in the right direction by increasing the number of refugees that can come to the U.S., room for improvement still exists. Increasing the number to 10,000 will only make a dent in this monumental issue.

We are viewed as one of the leaders, if not the leader, of the world, but we are not acting like it. The U.S. needs to continue to help with the Syrian refugee problem because not only does it affect us, it affects the world. At a time of global crisis, our country needs to step up because we are more than capable of it.