What the Class of 2019 Thinks of Syrian Refugees in the U.S.


Rayner Reinhardt

(From left to right) Anish Gandhi, Riley Sherwin, Josh Arndt, Aurora Rivera-Muniz

Rayner Reinhardt and Katrina Bucher

The ISIS attack in Paris happened several weeks ago at a Friday night concert. Since then, the world has been buzzing about what to do with the whole situation. CHS students have also been voicing their often strong opinions.

For example, Freshman Anish Gandhi feels an obligation towards Syrian refugees.

I’m willing to bet that 99% of refugees are not associated with ISIS. We have to provide them with a safe place,” Gandhi said.

Even well-before this, the United States government was contemplating actions against ISIS, whether this is war, investigations, or just attacks. Many people were pushing for the government to take in Syrian refugees who are fleeing from the oppression of their government as well as ISIS.

Students like Freshman Lucas Gorlin-Tarbell feels that assistance is taking too long.

“In a period of 12 to 18 months, things are going to change.Things like this need to go faster and be on a higher priority. There could be no ISIS after 12 to 18 months, or no Syria. We need to get these refugees in,” Gorlin-Tarbell said.

The activities of ISIS have been progressing at a pretty fast rate. The U.S., in addition to the world, are still trying to make sense of the whole situation. On November 19, 2015, Congress approved a bill suspending all admittance of refugees until the FBI director certifies the background investigation for each Syrian or Iraqi refugee admitted to the United States, and Homeland Security and Intelligence officials to certify that they are not security threats. This process could take a while to go through, usually 12-18 months or more.

Freshman Riley Sherwin agrees with letting refugees into the country and wishes things would happen more quickly.

“I feel that it’s a good concept, but the time frame is way too long,” Sherwin said.

The House vote on the bill was an overwhelming 289 to 137, which makes sense considering that the House is Republican-ruled and the bill is an accurate reflection of a Republican view. Since so many members of Congress voted to pass the bill, President Obama does not have the authority to make an overriding veto.

Freshman Adam Carroll agrees with the bill and its focus on safety.

“The bill is good. We’re not going to let every refugee in because like we saw with Paris, some terrorists snuck in with those people. We’ve got to have background checks to make sure no one is a threat to America,” Carroll said. “The purpose is to minimize the chance of terrorists.”

The 2016 Presidential Candidates have also joined in, throwing out their opinions on what they think should be done, regardless of the bill. The topic has become very politicized. Republican Ted Cruz wants to bring in only Christian refugees from Syria because he thinks they carry no threat.

Carroll, however, doesn’t believe that this is a fair choice.

“We shouldn’t bring religion into this whole situation,” he said..

Republican Donald Trump wants no refugees at all because he says they will ruin our nation. His opinion has attracted much criticism by other candidates, the media, and the public. Even some CHS students agree.

“You can’t trust what people say, or the background checks all the time. Sometimes refugees who are let in may end up doing what happened in France,” freshman Ian Callinan said in support of Trump.

However, Callinan points out another position, in which he evaluates the bill that has been put into place.

“I actually kind of agree with the bill because it lets in refugees with background checks. It is important to background check people,” Callinan said.

On the other hand, Democrat Hillary Clinton  wants to welcome refugees into the country and is criticizing the GOP candidates for their all “new low” of rejecting the oppressed.

Gandhi agrees with Clinton. He is opposed to the bill as well.

However, the recent San Bernardino attack raises other concerns since it was much closer to home than Paris. A married couple with possible ISIS connections shot and killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

Freshman Vicah Blair feels the threat of ISIS and encourages more safety precautions to be taken.

“They [terrorists of ISIS] might be trying to sneak in by pretending to be a refugee . . . We need to bump the security levels up as well. We need to take more precaution, especially after this attack,” Vicah Blair said.

Other students feel differently, even when taking into account these recent attacks.

Freshman Cody Brick feels as though ISIS is not a threat to the United States.

“We have a very efficient army that could take them down if we needed to,” Brick said.

ISIS is an obvious threat to the world, but the attack in California proves that America too, is in danger. According to some, the threat of terrorism has become personal for the States. The question of war is greater than ever.

However, Brick is concerned that the U.S. will start war with ISIS, which he does not approve of.

“I think the terrorists would be able to get into America regardless. War should not be an option, it would only hurt us.”

“I don’t feel as ISIS is a threat to the United States because they’re scared of us,” freshman Josh Arndt said. “I want the government to bring the refugees because I feel that our country is built on equality and freedom. They need a new life away from war and we can provide them with that.”

Arndt is against the new bill passed by Congress. He thinks it is too exclusive and will take too long for each refugee to be fully screened.