Columns / Features

No Rest For The Weary: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

By Matthew Orso

Staff Writer

According to the latest information from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, seven Syrian refugees were placed in New Jersey last month. However, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris have fueled anti-refugee sentiment among political leaders.

“Earlier today, Gov. Chris Christie sent a letter to President Barack Obama, notifying him that the State of New Jersey will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks that took place in Paris last week,” said Brian Murphy, the press secretary for Gov. Christie’s administration, in a statement to the Pioneer Times.

That position, however, worries people like Ashley Avaz, a junior majoring in communication at William Paterson University, who has family in Syria and cousins who are refugees in the Netherlands.

“They’re innocent people trying to live,” said Ayaz. “We should help the people who are actually in need.”

Gov. Christie’s letter to President Obama read in part, “I cannot allow New Jersey to participate in any that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being placed in our State. Effective today, I am directing the New Jersey Department of Human Services not to participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of New Jersey.”

More than half of the nation’s governors have publicly stated their refusal of allowing Syrian refugees into their states.

“The U.S. must ensure that a robust and comprehensive screening process is conducted before allowing any individual to enter this country,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said in a statement sent to the Pioneer Times. “I am committed to advocating for resources and reforming procedures so this process works efficiently and effectively, and ensures our security. We need to approach this humanitarian disaster with both practicality and compassion. These refugees are fleeing evil — they are victims, not villains. America is a beacon of freedom and hope, and we have a responsibility to show empathy and kindness to these families.”

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