“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”
Published By: 1World Online
The sonnet by poet Emma Lazarus (The Colossus) on the tablet of the “Statue of Liberty” are words that the United States of America has ingrained into its core. It is an offering that describes a nation willing to harbor and offer refuge to those who seek freedom from oppression, ethnic injustice, racism, slavery, and death. It is also, the ultimate sacrifice and sharing of the human heart.
But it is not an invitation to take in another country’s murderers and terrorists.
The current Syrian refugee crisis has placed America in an awkward position and one that is causing its people to question the tenacity of its values. While America promises unconditional, freedom and hope, it does not promise blanket admission to those who seek to hide and walk along the huddled masses to enact criminal acts.
Sometimes words have a funny way of confusing people, don’t they?
The current outrage towards some of the GOP presidential candidates, states’ governors and other members of Congress for not wanting to allow Syrian refugees into the country is growing louder with each passing day. Many people are saying that their callous and heartless attitudes are violating America’s oath to humanity.
But is it really?
Is it wrong to call for a pause and a safety check to make sure that even a few dozen or even hundreds of Syrian refugees coming into America are not terrorists? Is it heartless to take more time to do a proper screening and do background checks or even lie detector tests on all Syrian refugees?
Why are some people rushing to get 10,000 Syrian refugees into America by the year’s end?
Forget about the refugees being Muslims – that has no bearing on the issue any more than if the refugees were Buddhists. What’s important is that we protect America from even one terrorist who is given the golden opportunity to sneak through and murder innocent Americans.
Unfortunately, there are some people who are willing to gamble with American lives. They don’t care if Americans get killed as long as their piety and conscience remains intact. For them, it is better to sacrifice a neighbor so they can convince themselves that they were doing the right thing for the refugees.
When Emma Lazarus wrote those words for the Statue of Liberty, terrorism and the barbaric acts of terrorists were not dominating the world. It was a different era and the end of a different kind of warfare. Refugees came to America to start a new life and to help America grow – not to be infiltrated with ISIS sleeper cells that want to destroy America.
But now, there are other variables and threats to worry about besides honoring the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. Those words should still be honored, but at the same time we have to make sure that those words are not used as an admission ticket for ISIS terrorists.
America needs to take more time and institute a practical waiting period so everyone is sufficiently satisfied that no terrorists lie among the innocent, Syrian refugees.
It’s not a heartless thing to do – it’s the only responsible thing to do.
Joseph E. Rathjen is a freelance writer and a pollster/opinion writer at 1World Online – America’s Fastest Growing Social Research Engine.