Dangerous Refugee or Refugees in Danger? Five Refugee Stories
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On March 6, 2017, the United States government issued a revised travel ban, applicable to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Under the revised ban, the 120-day suspension of the refugee admissions stands.
Refugees might be a security threat, or so the argument goes. The Cato Institute recently took a hard look at the statistics and found:
“The chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year while the chance of being murdered in an attack committed by an illegal immigrant is an astronomical 1 in 10.9 billion per year. By contrast, the chance of being murdered by a tourist on a B visa, the most common tourist visa, is 1 in 3.9 million per year.”
And while there are certainly cases of refugees who commit other kinds of crimes, studies reveal that immigrants are far less likely than the general population to commit a crime, and that in nine of the ten US cities that received the largest influx of refugees in recent years actually experienced declines in crime. Refugees undergo a complex and detailed vetting process that takes up to two years to complete. In short, refugees are not the problem. Fleeing danger does not make you a dangerous person.
Historically, the American public has had mixed feelings about allowing in refugees, the majority disapproving allowing in Hungarians (1958), Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians (1979) or Cubans (1980). Yet time has demonstrated that refugees repeatedly become invaluable threads in the fabric of American society.
It is easy to fear “the other.” One of the best gifts books give us is insight into other people’s lives, other people’s stories. These extraordinary refugee stories remind us of the humanity common to us all.