Refugees

Trump’s platform depends upon his xenophobic promises but at the same time, he is misleading the American public’s knowledge of the refugee crisis in Syria.

Trump’s platform depends upon his xenophobic promises but at the same time, he is misleading the American public’s knowledge of the refugee crisis in Syria.

One of the greatest divisors between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is their differing stances on the refugee crisis.

Clinton has promised to raise the number of Syrian refugees from President Barack Obama’s number of 10,000 to 65,000; a 550% increase. She plans to play an important role in alleviating the stress put upon Europe because of the refugee crisis, particularly in places like Germany and Hungary who have beared the brunt. Her promise lies in stark contrast to Trump’s.

Trump’s Promises

In the past, he has vowed to stop the flow of Muslims alone into the United States; an action that would have prohibited more than 97% of the refugees settling in the United States since the start of 2016 from entering into the country. He holds up examples of customs such as honor killings, in the United States and abroad, and tragic, unfortunate events such as the attacks on women on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany as reasons to renounce Muslims. He even called Germany “crime-riddled right now” thanks to the increased presence of Muslims.

While to most Clinton-supporters who are a little more than slightly liberal like myself this seems like the last in a long line of crazy Donald Trump statements, it, in fact, reflects many Americans’ feelings towards Muslims. According to a recent Pew Research Center Study, 68% of American Republicans and even 30% of Democrats believe that Islam encourages more violence in its followers than other religions. Furthermore, nearly half of all Americans believe that Muslims are against the United States. If many of these anti-Muslim American voters end up voting for Trump, there is the possibility that he could do real damage.

Fear Towards Refugees

Yet, the greater issue for Trump, at least for me, is that he pushes people to fear Muslims for no other reasons than his personal gain: to create a divisive platform. His stance on the Syrian refugee crisis is merely his latest ploy.

Americans, with Donald Trump’s help of course, look to the latest attacks in Germany by refugees and refugees seekers as fuel for their hatred. From a seventeen-year-old with a machete who killed one woman on a train to the rejected asylum-seeker who blew himself up outside of a German concert, Americans point to Germany as the country who has gone wrong in the asylum crisis with nearly a million asylum seekers in 2015.

Too Many Refugees in Germany

Yet, what these voters ignore is that American policy for accepting asylum seekers is completely different from Germany’s, in terms of the Syrian refugee crisis. Germany had over one million asylum seekers apply in 2015, nearly a third of whom were Syrian refugees. Yet, for these Syrian refugees specifically, even if their asylum applications are rejected, as was in the case of the concert suicide bomber, they cannot be deported to a hostile place, such as Syria. So, as a result, the rejected applicants remain in limbo and have little ability to be productive members of society within Germany, as they cannot receive benefits nor work.

Whereas, the American system is one of the most rigorous possible, with eight steps required before allowed travel to the United States. Two years ago, I volunteered at a center for American refugees in Greensboro, North Carolina, and evidenced with my own two eyes the type of refugees that entered the United States: they are determined, self-sufficient and entrepreneurial people.

These are the sort of people that I believe desire their chance at the American Dream and who have fought much of their lives to come to the United States. To disavow the Syrian refugees, or anyone else, because of one man’s inaccurate and deceiving allegations would be more than tragic.

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Hadley Copeland

Yale Young Global Scholar, Hadley Copeland focuses on the North America, Middle East, and Europe.

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