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September 8, 2015

Should the U.S. take in Syrian war refugees?


As the refugee crisis continues in Europe, candidates running for president have begun to weigh in on what the U.S. should be doing.

Refugees fleeing war in Syria and Iraq continue to flood into Europe in the hundreds of thousands. Men, women and children are sleeping in train stations and camps as they wait to enter Northern European countries like Germany that have promised some degree of asylum.

The U.S. government already spends around $4 billion in Syria per year as civil war continues to displace millions of people. Now, the White House is considering resettling refugees in the U.S.

Resettlement is one of a number of options under consideration, reports NPR correspondent Tamara Keith. The announcement reveals a shift in the U.S.’s approach to the crisis.

Meanwhile, several candidates running for president in the 2016 election talked about refugees on the campaign trail in recent days.

“The Republican candidates have largely been saying this is a European problem and trying to push that off and make it a European problem,” Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report said.

Immigration remains a major talking point for Republican candidates. Some GOP candidates have said allowing Middle Eastern refugees into the country could create security risks. They feel careful screening would be necessary to prevent the possibility of Islamic State militants entering the country disguised as refugees, according to Walter.

None of the Democrats running have made significant comments on the topic of refugees besides former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who said the U.S. should prepare to accept more Syrian immigrants into the country.

Warm up questions
  1. What is a refugee?
  2. What do you know about the refugee crisis in Europe?
  3. What are some immigration issues in the U.S.?
Critical thinking questions
  1. Should the U.S. have a program to bring Syrian refugees here? Why or why not?
  2. In recent years, the U.S. has seen a rise in immigration from Central America and Mexico. What are the differences between immigration from different parts of the world?
  3. Why is security an issue when talking about resettling Syrian refugees?
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