After a week of Republican hand-wringing over Donald Trump’s persistent attacks on the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier, a development today added a new wrinkle to the debate over immigration from the Middle East.
The U.S. Department of State announced that the United States may actually surpass its goal to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year, almost all of whom are Muslims.
What’s more, these newcomers are moving all over the country, including to the 31 states whose governors protested against the resettlement plan a few months ago. Sorry, Gov. Larry Hogan.
Here’s why the idea that we’d ban people from countries such as Syria, Iraq or Iran will fizzle – if it hasn’t already.
One: Like previous waves of refugees, these Syrians will assimilate. Research from the Migration Policy Institute shows that refugee men are more likely than their American-born peers to work – two-thirds do, compared with 60 percent of native men. Refugee women are as likely as American-born women to work. As a group, Syrian immigrants are more skilled than most of us: 49 percent work in management, business, science and arts; compared with 38 percent of U.S.-born.
Two: America is a busy and noisy place, and everybody here has some kind of accent, it seems. Unlike in Europe – where countries such as Germany and Sweden have taken in, note, hundreds of thousands of refugees in recent years and struggle to assimilate them – it’s easy to melt in and find your niche in the United States.
Three: Terrorism in the U.S. is mostly a home-grown problem that has little to do with immigrants, or Muslims for that matter. In a country as violent as ours, people of all colors and backgrounds create mayhem. Americans know that.
Charities in Maryland and elsewhere are reporting a surge in phone calls from people who want to help the refugees settle. This is how this country works: We’re a nation of immigrants from all over the place and we help each other out.
And this is why we should be just fine with 10,000 more Syrians in our midst.
Photo: UN Development Programme