The on-going conflict in Syria has created a humanitarian crisis which the world has not seen the likes of since World War II. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that over 4,597,000 registered Syrian refugees have been displaced, fleeing the horrors of ISIS controlled territories and the atrocities committed by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.1 Millions of these refugees have fled to Turkey and Europe, many falling victim to deadly tragedies along their journeys.
A dilemma that host countries face which is unique to the Syrian refugee crisis is ISIS-inspired extremists exploiting these refugee movements in order to gain access to western countries. ISIS has publicly stated that it will use the mass exodus from the region to infiltrate Europe and the United States. On the table is whether the United States should open its doors to Syrian refugees to the same extent as Europe. In keeping with American values and generosity, the United States routinely accepts persons of refugee status who are fleeing persecution and death in their home countries. The question this unique situation poses is how much risk to the American people is the country willing to accept? The U.S. State Department has assured the country that all refugees would be thoroughly vetted, to include biometric testing. However, many potential extremists would not register in any existing database.
Should the United States continue to accept large numbers of Syrian Refugees?