The string of terror attacks across the globe has prompted many reactions, defiance, aggression and sorrow among them.
In the face of such horror, reactions come swift and strong.
When it comes to defending our nation and its allies, we fully support seeking out those who caused the terror and remedying the situation with whatever means necessary.
We do not want to be a nation that leaves under a constant cloud of fear from the threat of terrorism.
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But we also do not want to be a nation that forgets its founding principles when it comes to protecting those in need.
In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, the handling of Syrian refugees has come to the forefront. Waves of refugees have fled the country’s civil war broke out in 2011, with an estimated 4 million leaving Syria since then.
For that many people to leave their homeland, the conditions must be horrific.
We have always been a nation that provided a safe haven for those who can no longer safely live in their country of origin.
Because some of those producing the attacks in Paris had apparently slipped into Europe with Syrian refugees, many have had a knee-jerk reaction to stop allowing refugees from that country in the United States.
Our state’s governor has taken some heat for stating that Washington will continue to accept Syrians once they have passed the seemingly rigorous process required to come to the U.S.
In the other Washington, the House just passed a bill to discontinue allowing Syrians into the U.S. until a more stringent process is in place. The Senate is expected to block that bill, and the Obama administration would likely veto if that wasn’t the case.
Since 2011, 2,174 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the U.S., in a process that can take up to two years. The White House says not one of those people have been arrested or deported because of terrorism-related activities.
Our nation was built on the freedoms that our founding fathers could not find elsewhere. At the Statue of Liberty, a gift from our friends in France, you’ll find the quote from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Isn’t that what we’re all about?
Of course we need to make sure we aren’t providing a safe haven for terrorists. And we’re fine with reevaluating the process to make sure it is as stringent as possible. Take a pause and make sure safeguards are in check.
But punishing an entire group of people for the actions of a few horrible ones is not the American way.
This column reflects the views of the editorial board of The Tri-City Herald newspaper in Kennewick.