Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley thinks the U.S. response to the Syrian refugee crisis isn’t strong enough. President Obama has proposed taking in between 5,000 and 8,000 refugees this year. But O’Malley believes we need to admit nearly 10 times that number.
“I support the call from humanitarian and refugee organizations for the United States to accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees next year,” he said in a statement Friday. “If Germany — a country with one-fourth our population — can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we — the nation of immigrants and refugees — can do more.”
Syrian refugees are flooding Europe following the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians due to ethnic violence in the Middle East. The migrant crisis has engulfed Europe, leading many to ask whether the U.S. would take refugees from the continued fighting in Syria.
O’Malley said the number of refugees the U.S. is scheduled to accept next year is insufficient.
“Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But today our policies are falling short of those values. We must do more to support Syrian refugees — and we must certainly welcome more than the proposed 5,000 to 8,000 refugees next year,” he said.
The former Maryland governor said images such as that of a toddler’s body washing up on a Turkish beach should motivate the U.S. to do more.
“With more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing war and famine, they now comprise the second-largest refugee population in the world. As Europe is becoming increasingly aware, we are not immune from the injustices and tragedies that unfold outside our borders.” he said.
While we should recognize that this is a global problem brought about, at least partly, by the lack of leadership of the U.S. in Syria, Libya, and other conflict areas in the Middle East and Africa, the bottom line remains we can’t help everybody. The Middle East is being emptied of human beings because rancid people are doing very bad things to their own citizens, and terrorists are doing even worse things to others. The fact is, however, there are safer places for these refugees closer to home. It’s just that the fantastically rich Gulf states — and let’s include our newfound friends in Tehran — are refusing to be part of the solution and continue to be part of the problem.
The Gulf states are financing Muslim extremists all across the region, hoping to by them off so that the contagion will bypass their fabulously wealthy monarchies. They have no intention of importing hundreds of thousands of desperate Muslims who may upset the precarious balance maintained by ruthless force in their countries. They have the room. They have the cash. But they lack the courage to do what’s right and thus wait upon the western democracies to become guilty enough to take them all.
In truth, 65,000 refugees is a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers of people who sneak in illegally to the U.S. every year. But accepting that many refugees would only invite an exodus to our shores. The human smugglers are resourceful and clever. And while the ships used to make the short crossing from Africa to Greece or Turkey would never stand the gaff of a cross-Atlantic trip, welcoming so many migrants would only encourage the traffickers to find ways to reach our shores.
The numbers crossing over to Europe are growing with no end in sight. Unless a quick end is found for the Syrian civil war and a strategy is devised to deal effectively with ISIS, we risk a humanitarian calamity the likes of which have not been seen in modern times.