To The Daily Sun,
Our refugee policies seem more intended to provide Americans with good feelings and reward special interests than to help the world's threatened/struggling people.
If an American warship finds a sinking cruise ship, we expect the warship to help as many passengers as possible even if they have to share cramped, primitive quarters and limited food.
But that's not what our nation's refugee program does. It greatly benefits a few while leaving millions more threatened and/or struggling.
It costs about $70,000 to re-settle each refugee in our country. That same $70,000 could re-settle 12 to 13 refugees in safe spaces in their own or nearby countries with people who share their language and culture. Or, for $70,000 we could feed about 200 starving people for a year. (On March 19, 2017, 60 Minutes reported that South Sudan has millions of starving people.)
Some pressure to bring refugees here comes from the organizations that help the refugees; the more refugees, the more funding. Other Americans feel good seeing or knowing about the refugees we bring here.
But, out of sight and therefore out of mind are the millions more suffering people who could be, but aren't being helped with the same amount of money. We should maximize the number of people we help with the available resources.
And, while many refugees who come here may feel they won the lottery, many encounter hardships living where few people speak their language or share their culture, where their skills aren't useful in generating a prosperous life, where assimilation is difficult, etc. Refugees would more quickly assimilate if they re-settled with people who share their language, culture, and means of life; and it would be easier to return home or visit friends or family members when possible.
After a refugee is re-settled here, there are continuing costs to Americans: various forms of welfare, and impact on American workers and American children's education, etc. Many refugees have low level skills and compete for jobs with Americans who have the most difficult time making a living. Non-English speaking and often uneducated refugee children increase education costs and/or take resources needed by American children.
It's long past time to change our policies related to refugees. We need to give up what makes us feel good, i.e., saving the few refugees who come here, and use our limited resources to maximize the number of struggling/threatened people that can be fed and/or moved to safe areas among people who share their language and culture. That's better for us and better for them.
- Category: Letters
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