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Governor Hogan, don’t shut the door on refugees

By Editorial Board

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This afternoon, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan requested that the federal government cease any resettlement of Syrian refugees in Maryland on the grounds that resettlement would jeopardize “the safety and security of Marylanders.”

Never mind that Hogan doesn’t technically have the power to prevent the federal government from resettling refugees within Maryland. Never mind that this decision appears to be a cynical ploy to politicize the tragic attacks in Paris.

What’s important to note is that Hogan’s claims of protecting “the safety and security of Marylanders” by denying refugees a home is, at best, misguided, ignorant and hateful.

For one, it is patently absurd to paint these refugees as a security threat to Maryland. Of the nearly 750,000 refugees that have resettled in the U.S since 9/11, exactly zero have been arrested on domestic terrorism charges. The notion that the horrific Paris terrorist attacks could’ve been averted had France rejected refugees rings hollow in light of the fact that nearly every attacker was an E.U. citizen. The passport that supposedly proved one of the attackers to be a refugee turned out to be fake, something U.S. screening procedures could easily detect.

These refugees are not terrorists. They are fleeing from terrorists. To deny them shelter is to deny them not only their basic human rights as guaranteed by international law, but to condemn them to certain misery in the overcrowded refugee camps of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan or in their war-torn home country. It is our moral obligation, then, as human beings, to accept those who have been driven out of their homes by the ravages of war.

Contrary to Hogan’s claims, denying refugees will only make terrorism worse. Broadly speaking, denying refugees access to jobs and better lives, and pushing millions into overpacked refugee camps is a recipe for creating alienation and resentment. And vilifying refugees only plays into ISIS’s core message about the West’s “war on Islam” that drives their recruitment.

There is a lot more fear in this country than there was last week. Justifiably so. But short-sighted decisions like Hogan’s turn this understandable desire for safety into hatred against innocent refugees who are fleeing the very violence we wish to shield ourselves from.

During the 1930s and 40s, the U.S. rejected Jewish refugees on the grounds that they might be harboring Nazi spies among them. It is easy to say that we were wrong in hindsight. From this horrific event, we should have learned the lesson already: closing the door to refugees doesn’t close the door to terrorists. Denying refugees doesn’t make us safer. It just makes us more afraid, more vulnerable, and less human.

16 Comments

16 Responses to “Governor Hogan, don’t shut the door on refugees”

  1. You can't be serious on November 18th, 2015 3:11 pm

    How is Hogan ‘near sighted’ for choosing Marylander’s over refugees from half way across the globe. And you say that we are denying them JOBS, wtf are you talking about they aren’t coming here to get paid they are coming here to run away from their own problems and have America fix it for them. And you say ‘contrary to Hogan’s claims, denying refugees will make terrorism worse’. you care to explain why people should believe that? Because I doubt you have any proof that would happen.

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  2. you are naive on November 18th, 2015 3:26 pm

    editorials like these are why the rest of the world thinks Americans are stupid and naive. None of you understand how much money it costs to keep all these people alive and how much more your parents will have to pay. Why do you think no other Arab country fighting ISIS wants these refugees? You say Hogan is denying

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  3. In response to both comments below on November 18th, 2015 4:39 pm

    1. You argued that Arab countries aren’t taking in other refugees, but in fact, refugees now make up over 20% of the population in Jordan and Lebanon. These countries are so overburdened, any developed nation who respect human rights needs to step in so innocent refugees have a place to go.

    2. You say they are coming here to “run away from their problems and have America fix it for them.” First, those “problems” you’re trivializing are running away from are ruthless persecution and fleeing daily threat of terrorism, so I’d say it’s quite reasonable they want somewhere—or anywhere—else to live. Furthermore, most Syrian refugees are middle class and well-educated, and not looking to depend on America, just have a safe place to live. If you don’t believe me, more reading on that here: http://www.ibtimes.com/europe-refugee-crisis-facts-wealthy-educated-syrians-risking-lives-leave-war-2089018

    3. As explained in the article, Western Islamophpbia only feeds into ISIS’s narrative and helps them recruit. When you discriminate and marginalized people they become increasingly prone to radicalization, but letting refugees settle solves that problem. A professional explains how and why that happens here: http://www.wired.com/2015/11/turning-away-refugees-wont-fight-terrorism-it-might-make-it-worse/

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  4. Anonymous Poster on November 18th, 2015 5:13 pm

    Seriously? Modern American liberalism once again proves its restrictiveness to difference of opinion. Immigration without assimilation is invasion. Support for borders becomes xenophobia and islamophobia. Support for traditional marriage becomes homphobia. Belief in life becomes misogyny. Anyway, why have no wealthy Arab countries (UAE, Qatar and Bahrain) accepted refugees? Why do no wealthy Arab countries accept displaced Palestinian refugees? Why do we pursue a policy of open borders when BORDERS, LANGUAGE and CULTURE are the prerequisites to nationhood.Refugees indisputably pose a national security threat. This is not Islamophobia but mere emphasis on the law of odds. While national interest is incalculable, benevolence and altruism are ultimately defined by their practitioners. We are at war, and in war one must forgo conventional means of morality and ethics and turn to pragmatic statecraft.

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  5. Anonymous Poster on November 18th, 2015 5:14 pm

    Why do I feel that if a Democratic Governor of Maryland had taken the same rational stance, then the editorial board would not have posted this article? #DoubleStandard

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    Not at all Reply:

    That’s definitely not true. If you look at the graphic, New Hampshire has a Democratic governer and all these same critiques still apply. The issue of human rights should not be a partisan one.

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  6. Anonymous on November 18th, 2015 10:30 pm

    I thought this was a student newspaper run by students not by the Huffington Post.

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  7. aasdfw on November 19th, 2015 4:44 pm

    I agree that we need to engage ourselves in humanitarian manner as a nation but I think we ought to realize that this problem and atrocious human rights calamity can only be stopped with overwhelming military force, possibly boots on the ground.

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  8. lfndljdsf on November 20th, 2015 11:19 am

    did you seriously just blame the US for the Holocaust? BTW, just came out today that the mastermind and a few other Paris terrorists used the refugee crisis to sneak into France. What makes you think they cant do that here? Would you write the same article if Hogan was a democrat? No, you would be praising it.

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  9. lfndljdsf on November 20th, 2015 11:24 am

    I can name a domestic terrorism charge off the top of my head Black and White, Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2010 Iraqi refugees who had killed servicemen in Iraq snuck in through the refugee process, and tried to send stringer missiles to Iraq. Check your facts.

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  10. disgrace on November 23rd, 2015 8:32 pm

    Utter ignorance. Utter partisanship. Utter journalistic shame. Change in leadership might be necessary.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    It’s called an opinion piece. Maybe you should study journalism before you write utter slander about an opinion article with valid evidence to back it up. Learn to respect the opinions of others

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  11. Just a few things wrong with the comments above on November 24th, 2015 8:06 pm

    “Utter ignorance. Utter partisanship. Utter journalistic shame. Change in leadership might be necessary.”
    – To attack your first point, this was a very well-researched opinion as seen by the multiple sourcing. To attack your second point, the article never criticizes Hogan for being a Republican, or being a conservative. It is simply addressing his stance in which the publication believes to be wrong. For the rest of your comment, it would be journalism shame not to express the opinion of the publication, and your sentences are grammatically a shame.

    To the anonymous commenter who talks about Kentucky, this is not a DOMESTIC terrorism charge or attack. Despite that fact, 2 out of hundreds and hundreds of thousands refugees is not a risky statistic, especially because they contributed to no harm on American soil.

    TO lfndljdsf: We do not blame the U.S. for the Holocaust considering the Holocaust was not in the U.S. but we do blame the U.S. for not taking thousands of Jewish refugees who could have been saved. Also the 8/9 of the Paris terrorists were from French. The ninth was from Belgium. Perhaps we should be more worried about our friends in the EU. Finally no, this attacks Hogan’s opinion not his political party.

    To the person who compared The Black & White to the Huffington Post, These are the opinions that have been created due to actually doing research.

    To #DoubleStandard: I criticize anyone who believes that we shouldn’t help people, Democrat, Republication or Independent.

    To “Modern American liberalism”: It becomes when islamophobia to compare the refugees to the people who they are running from. Refugees are not looking to infiltrate the U.S. and maybe we should trust our government’s screening process about keeping away people who wish to do harm.

    To “you are naive”: Please do some research and get back to me.

    To “you can’t be serious”: This is very serious, especially for the thousands and thousands of people who are trying not to be killed by terrorists. By not accepting refugees you fuel the hate for America and its people. By turning away people asking for our help we are letting the world know that we don’t care about terrorism that happens in other countries. If we want to continue to be a world power then the U.S. needs to start caring about what is happening in the world, and doing what they can to fix the many problems that have arisen. Also if Hogan actually cared about the people of Maryland he wouldn’t have cut millions from the education budgets.

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    disgrace Reply:

    It’s called style. Look it up before you attack people. BTW, still a disgrace

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    Think Before You Speak Reply:

    Pretty sure they hated us after Bosnia was liberated and Muslims were saved from genocidal horrors. And Gulf War liberated all of Kuwait. And when the US intervened to remove the Taliban and ensure that Afghan society was egalitarian and democratic. And when Muammar Qaddafi was removed. And when Saddam was deposed. We do not have to do anything for a group of people that has held nothing for contempt for the noble overtures of American policy.

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  12. SAUDI MUST PAY on February 20th, 2016 10:30 am

    Why hasn’t Saudi Arabia taken any refugees!

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Governor Hogan, don’t shut the door on refugees