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The Syrian refugee crisis

One of the biggest political debates for Americans today pertains to Syrian refugees. The back-and-forth seems like an endless game of tennis between the Democratic left and the Republican right, with the future of refugees acting as the ball. We let them in because we're obligated to, but we keep them out because they'll terrorize us and overcrowd our schools. The disagreement seems endless. Who's right? The question is complex, but there is a solution.

Did you know the United States played a role in creating ISIS? This was obviously not our intention, but it did happen. For this reason, many Americans think we should take in some of the refugees terrorized by the extremist group.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq meant to help their army backfired, and ended up destroying what was left of the regime. The remaining Iraqi soldiers were jobless and angry at the United States. When means of revenge were laid forth to the men by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Iraqi men were more than happy to say yes. This laid the framework for ISIS, and the war in Syria. Without the failed mission that helped bring about ISIS we would be without Syrian refugees in search of asylum. This is where the moral obligation to help out refugees comes into play. We would be giving back to the refugees who desperately need our help, and it wouldn't hurt the U.S. to do so.

The U.S. has the resources to help out, and it has in the past. Consider the Varela Centers, built for Cuban refugees ages 5-18, in 1995. These schools were built cheaply and quickly. They came with a high success rate, increased levels of education for the refugee children and didn't contribute to overcrowding in existing U.S. schools. The U.S. has dealt with refugees in the past and there is no reason to believe we could not handle them again, regardless of where they're from.

According to a Bloomberg poll, half of Americans surveyed are against the intake of Syrian refugees. The main fear is that they will be terrorists. This mindset is wholly irrational. A member of ISIS wishing to infiltrate the U.S. posing as a refugee would have to travel to a refugee camp and hope to be one of the 10,000 asylum seekers the United States plans to admit in 2016. According to the U.S. State Department, most refugees are the elderly, women and children. Roughly 2 percent of those admitted are males ages 18-30, ISIS's main demographic.

The fear of terrorism in the United States is a reasonable one, but not in the form of Syrian refugees. The overwhelming majority of these people are simply looking for an escape from their war-torn country. Our concern should be helping those in need find a better life, which is one of the values America was built on in the first place.

Kaylee Matuszak is a senior at Hermantown High School.

This is one of three opinion pieces by Hermantown High School students in the Jan. 31 issue. The others are:

Should the U.S. be the global cop in Syria?

Two-state solution is the best option for Israel and Palestine

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