Much discussion, emotion and hand wringing is due the issue of the refugee fleeing home due to the war in that nation.
The question is – “What do we do with these people?”
There is only one answer – “Let them in.”
There can only be one answer that America can offer when the world is confused and is searching for the way forward. When people everywhere don’t know what to do, when they doubt themselves and others and are in a desperate search for the noble, the honorable and the compassion – they always, whether they like it or not, look to America as the beacon that shows them the way. That shines through the storm clouds and leads them to safe harbor?
And why is this the case, always the case?
Because it is who we are.
It is normal and easy to be afraid; the desire to close the gate and lock the door is common, understandable. But we are UNcommon. Ours is not the easy way – our way has always been fraught with peril and dangers. And we have always, ALWAYS demonstrated the strength of our will and our way. It is why people who are afraid come here – it is why the world immigrates to America and not the other way around.
Now, can we take steps to be more safe than less? Sure. Should states have rights in who they let in? I think so. Are there methods that we can employ to make this easier? Absolutely.
If we are afraid of the militant – we can require that any refugee be part of an intact family. We can accept mother, father and children. It could be said that the most at risk Syrians are the widows and the orphans – the families who have lost their men due to the conflict. Certainly the widow and her orphaned children can be accommodated?
Further – we know that we can’t take ALL the refugees fleeing Syria. There are very real concerns that an immigrant population may grow to a size that makes assimilation next to impossible. It has been forever a unique American experience that anyone can become American. The corollary to this phenomenon is that there is an implicit expectation that the immigrant make every effort to hustle that process along as fast as she can. So we take those that we are able and pray for those remaining outside our door.
But we take those that we can. Because, to fail in this regard is to walk away from the very thing that makes us great.
I am reminded of the charge of the gentle craft that brings me comfort monthly:
Remember that, around this alter, you have promised to befriend and relieve every brother who shall need your assistance. You have promised, in the most friendly manner, to remind him of his errors and aid a reformation. These generous principles are to extend further. Every human being has claim upon your kind offices.
Do good unto all.