The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Bill passed to raise barriers against Syrian refugees

Following a string of global attacks and threats linked to ISIS in recent weeks, tensions regarding the influx of Syrian refugees to the United States have increased significantly.

Governors in more than half of the states in the U.S. have vowed to not allow refugees to settle in their states after a fake Syrian passport was used by an ISIS terrorist responsible for part of the attacks in Paris.

Voicing frustrations with the states’ decisions, sophomore Kaitlyn Routh said, “Looking at it from a humanitarian perspective, I think it’s a very selfish decision lacking any solidarity or empathy whatsoever.”

The fake passport found in Paris has led many to believe that more terrorists can disguise themselves as innocent refugees and wreak havoc within the U.S. if more stringent barriers are not put in place.

In a written statement, Maine Gov. Paul LePage said, “To bring Syrian refugees into our country without knowing who they are is to invite an attack on American soil just like the one we saw in Paris last week and in New York City on 9/11,” according to the Portland Press Herald.

Following the stance taken by governors in a 289-137 vote, the House passed a bill that would raise more barriers on refugees entering into the U.S. Though the future of the bill is uncertain, if passed it would suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the country until it can be proven that they don’t pose a threat.

While many see this as a victory, not all Americans are pleased about these decisions, arguing that the nation is showing a lack of empathy. Children account for half of the four million Syrians being forced to seek refuge abroad, according to UNICEF.

Routh said, “It is statistically impossible and xenophobic to believe that every refugee is a terrorist in disguise. America has always been the ‘land of the free,’ but why are there so many terms and conditions involved?”

While a solution still remains to be found, pressure continues to be put on both state governments and the federal government to provide legislation that benefits all.

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About the Contributor
Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief
Suzanne Ciechalski is a senior journalism major with a minor in government and politics. In her second year as EIC, she hopes to continue increasing the Torch’s editorial content by spanning coverage to include news within the local community outside of SJU, and breaking news. She also hopes to expand the Torch’s visibility by building on the paper’s online presence and by reaching out to students through stories, journalism workshops and other events. Before graduating, she hopes to instill an element of community service within the Torch by reaching out to local high schools about how the Torch can help them build on their current newspaper, or develop one. Suzanne has been with the Torch for three years, previously serving as the opinion editor and as a staff writer. Have any questions? Email Suzanne at [email protected]

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