The US Should Do More

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This is what it says. This is what the Statue of Liberty says.

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-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

That is what it says. That is what the Statue of Liberty says.

According to the Los Angeles Times, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, more than 4 million refugees have fled that country.

Jordan has taken in 630,224 Syrian refugees.

So far the United States has accepted, 1,500 Syrian refugees.

The Times reports that Lebanon has taken in 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

So far the United States has accepted, 1,500 Syrian refugees.

Turkey has taken in 1.9 million Syrian refugees.

So far the United States has accepted, 1,500 Syrian refugees.

Germany says it will take in at least 30,000 refugees.

The United Nations estimates that at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge in Europe this year and next year.

Recently Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley took a stand and said the United States should admit at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.

I agree and is why.

Neighbors of Syria, and European nations, are dealing with the refugee crisis, not because they somehow are responsible for it, but because, by chance, they are close to the source of the refugees. Nothing in the 10 commandments says people close to a problem have a greater duty to deal with it.

We are better able to manage the challenges that would result from admitting 65,000 refugees.

Is it practical for us to take in such a large number of refugees? According to the Census Bureau, the current population of the US is over 318 million. Sixty five thousand refugees would be only .002 percent of our total population. For Jordan the impact of accepting 630,224 is much greater. The current population of Jordan is roughly 6,836,000. Thus, the number of refugees is a little over 9 percent of Jordan’s native population.

The population of Turkey is roughly 75,837. Turkey has taken in 1.9 million Syrian refugees.

The number of refugees that Turkey has taken in is almost 4 percent of its total population.

But these countries are poor. What would the economic burden be on a rich country like Germany and how does that compare to the US? The gross domestic product of Germany is 3.73 trillion in US dollars. A country’s gross domestic product is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.

The gross domestic product of the US is $16.77 trillion Our gross domestic product is about four and a half times larger than Germany’s. And yet the number of refugees that Martin O’Malley suggests we bring in is only a little over twice the number of refugees that Germany promises to take in.

Some fear bringing 65,000 Syrian immigrants to the US will be too destructive of the American culture, and of the way we do things here. The facts suggest otherwise.

Between 1846-1851, more than one million Irish immigrants came to America, and another 873,000 arrived between 1860-1880.

In the mid 1840s a new political party formed in the United States. It was known as the Know Nothing Party (officially kn own as the American Party). They opposed immigration to this country, especially immigrants from Ireland who were mostly Catholic.

They feared that Catholics would take control of the United States and turn it over to the Pope.

Between 1900 and 1915, 3 million Italians immigrated to America. Many in this, our mostly Protestant nation, vigorously opposed this in-migration.

During these years many people born in this country feared that large immigration by Catholics would fundamentally change the culture of our nation and in ways they would not like.

They turned out to be wrong. Now many Americans have the same fears about new waves of immigration from Mexico and from mainly Muslim countries in the middle east. The fears about the Irish and Italians were wrong. As it turned out, they enriched our culture in many wonderful ways. I believe the same thing will happen if we welcome Muslim immigrants.

So this is what the Statue of Liberty says.

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-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

We should live up to that promise.

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