Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, January 20, 2019

Letter to the editor: Regarding publication of the op-ed "Admitting Syrian refugees is inhumane"

As a member of the American University community, as an American, and as a human being, I take serious issue with your misleading 1/31/17 Op-Ed, “Admitting Syrian refugees is inhumane.” I know that there will be many readers who take issue with the content of the ideas expressed in this op-ed, but my concerns are far deeper than that.

I do believe that the United States should admit far more refugees than it does, and that the United States had adequately stringent screening processes in place to admit refugees before President Trump signed his executive order. I also believe that holding the belief that the United States should admit less refugees is an equally legitimate political belief to hold. And, most importantly, it is open, fact-based debate between people who hold differing opinions that should determine the course that this country takes in creating its immigration policies.

Unfortunately, the op-ed “Admitting Syrian refugees is inhumane” only serves to muddy the waters in this important debate by misusing already misleading sources. Let’s start with the first source cited in the article, written by the Center for Immigration Studies. According the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Immigration Studies has actively promoted the ideas of white nationalists and Holocaust deniers. Okay, that’s only one bad source. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve cited something less than reliable to finish up an assignment before a deadline.

But it’s not just one bad source. “Admitting Syrian refugees is inhumane” systematically uses untrue and misleading sources. The op-ed then goes on to cite Russia Today, which the Columbia Journalism Review notes is a Russian propaganda outlet.

The next source cited is The Gladstone Institute, which the Center for American Progress has characterized as Islamophobic. Well, there’s my liberal bias showing… So, even if you don’t buy the criticism of the Center for American Progress, there are serious issues with the Gladstone Institute’s claims about rape in Sweden. I’ll just direct you to the BBC to address the issues there.

Now finally, about the claims that Obama banned Iraqi refugees: President Obama did significantly slow down the visa process for refugees coming from Iraq for six months based on the specific evidence that two Iraqi immigrants had ties to al-Qaeda, according to Snopes.

As a community, we should be able to engage in respectful, productive debate without propagating the ideas of white nationalists, Russian propagandists and Islamophobes. I mean, if you choose to, that’s your right, but I’ll also exercise mine to call you out on it. So, now that we have some facts from reliable sources, persuade me. I’m listening.

Emily Myers is a junior in the School of International Service.

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