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Refugee Crisis Conflicting Views

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—There is a heated debate about the relocation of Syrian refugees to the United States, with more than half of the nation’s governors saying they oppose allowing them into their states. Gov. Robert Bentley was the second governor to oppose the relocation of refugees within the nation’s borders. The latest pushback came after Islamic extremists launched a killing spree in the heart of Paris.

Earlier, in a press statement Bentley said, “After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the US Refugee Admissions Program.”

On Tuesday, a coalition of humanitarian and refugee resettlement leaders responded to the latest calls to stop the admission of Syrian refugees, and explain why the US must show leadership in the face of this global crisis.

Kevin Appleby, Director of Migration Policy at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the following statement during a nationwide conference call with journalists: “The refugees fleeing violence in Syria want the same thing Americans do—to protect their children and to live in safety. More than any nation on earth, America has understood the plight of the refugee and offered safe haven to those who are simply attempting to survive. To turn our backs now on this history and heritage diminishes our standing and moral leadership in the world and our ability to bring nations together to address this humanitarian crisis.”

President of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Linda Hartke, speaking to gathered reporters said, “To close the door on Syrian refugees would be nothing less than signing a death warrant for tens of thousands of families who are fleeing for their lives. If ISIS had hoped the result of the Paris attacks would be small-minded panic, some governors are giving them their wish. We should not limit the resettlement of refugees to any one group or faith but rather, we should continue our national priority of resettling the most vulnerable refugees. Their vulnerability is why we provide refugee, safety, and a new start in the United States.”

But pleas for humanitarian relief are being met with anger and defiance across the US, especially in Southern States.

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Presidential hopefuls on the right are vying for most hawkish response with Donald Trump plainly stating as president he would “Bomb the sh*t out of ISIS,” the reported perpetrators of the attack on Paris.

Social media is awash with varying opinions on the issue, talk radio has sided with Bentley.

Congressional candidate Becky Gerritson (R-Wetumpka) issued a statement vowing to, “fight President Obama’s open arms policy and oppose all legislation that invites danger into the lives of the men, women, and children of this great nation,” a move she has dubbed Obama’s Islamic Importation Plan.

It is perhaps ironic, that at the base of the The Statue of Liberty—a gift of solidarity from France— is a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus, entitled The New Colossus. Most Americans are familiar with a the portion of the text which reads,

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

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Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

American journalist John T. Cunningham wrote, “The Statue of Liberty was not conceived and sculpted as a symbol of immigration, but it quickly became so as immigrant ships passed under the torch and the shining face, heading toward Ellis Island. However, it was [Lazarus’s poem] that permanently stamped on Miss Liberty the role of unofficial greeter of incoming immigrants.”

A global war begun by Islamic extremists has led to a new world order of fear and even isolationist leanings.

Leaving many to question how a nation can live up to such noble goals when around the world, Muslims are seen cheering attacks on western countries. After grizzly murders rank and file Mohammedans appear on the nightly news chanting “Death to the infidels, Death to America.” These images along with the horror of severed heads and lifeless bodies has led to grave suspicious of those who follow Islam.

The group, Terrorism Research, says terrorists commit acts of violence to produce widespread fear, obtain worldwide, national, or local recognition for their cause by attracting the attention of the media, harrass, weaken, or embarrass government security forces so that the the government overreacts and appears repressive and influence government decisions, legislation, or other critical decisions.

Islamic extremists’ murderous actions have in many ways accomplished these goals. But allowing Syrian refugees to make camp in Alabama is not a popular idea.

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Bentley say he is leading with his head and not his heart and it appears he has a great deal of support.

According to, the Quran contains over one hundred verses calling for war on nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. “Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers… “Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text.  They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subject to interpretation as anything else in the Quran.”

The recent attacks in France and the experience at home of 9/11 has led to a mounting resistance to further opening the porous US border. In a time of chaos, doubt and fear, caution seems to be the common sense reaction of the American people.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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