Refugees, an undeniable element of the American dream
By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota
It seems rather reasonable to argue the United States owes the millions of people it has displaced, directly or indirectly, amnesty through a program of refugee resettlement.
Wherever there are immigrants, there are refugees. The United States is a nation of immigrants, but is it also a nation of refugees? The Puritans were one of the earliest European settlers that arrived in the New World. They fled the Old World to escape bigotry and persecution for their beliefs. They found solace at Plymouth Rock because it offered a place free of bigoted persecution. Therefore, would that make the Puritans America’s first major batch of refugees? At the time, issues surrounding the drama of immigration were not there because as a nation, the United States was nonexistent.
It cannot be stressed enough. The United States is a nation built on the bedrock of immigration. It can be argued that every major wave of immigrants were the refugees of their time. They escaped subsistence by means of serfdom. The foundation of the nation is supported by the promise of providence; a staple of the American Dream. The United States is a grand experiment ceaselessly working toward its optimization. It is the civic responsibility of every generation to impartially define the American Dream. Each definition can be used as an existential nuance to repatriate its foundations to the present.
The Puritans are remembered for their eccentric practices which are hardly fitting examples for tolerance and impartiality, but they were also a unique product of their time. In an Age of Information, we have opportunities never before bestowed on our ancestors. There is no limit to what we can do with information and through its instantaneity, we must establish one grand realization: we need not be the simple products of time. Why not rise to the occasion in ways where we can achieve unprecedented strides toward the achievement of a better world? That all begins with trust in human rights inalienable to all. The pursuit of human rights is among our many great American traditions.
It has served as America’s precipice for greatness. The United States will forever go down in history as a grand civilizational experiment unlike no other. Its few historical rivals are largely found in the likeness of Ancient Rome. It then becomes pertinent to raise one focal question: did the United States achieve its unprecedented scale of grandiosity by closing its borders to the outside world? Some of the most notable accomplishments that captured those “All American Success Stories” are discoverable in the annals of American history. We stumble upon a world where people went from rags to riches. Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie are among the most notorious.
With that in mind, a second question comes to mind: how many Fords and Carnegies of the world are we refusing through Trump’s Immigration Ban targeting Muslims? Out of all Muslim expatriates originating from such nations as Iraq, Syria, and Somalia, what is the actual scale of radicalization that occurs within the greater Islamic Community consisting of all three and more? According to a Pew Research article written by Michael Lipka, it has been asserted, out of a survey questioning Muslim respondents from Lebanon and Syria, that 94% maintained an unfavorable view of extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The fact of the matter is that groups such as ISIS were made possible due to unanticipated blowback from foreign invasions and subsequent occupations. Ten years ago, no one thought that groups like ISIS were possible let alone fathomable. If America decided to scrap “Operation Iraqi Freedom” during its genesis, would groups like ISIS exist in the first place? America never had a true nation-building strategy in Iraq which has led to its gradual deterioration. When superpowers invade and occupy, they must be willing to address the direct consequences of their geopolitical actions. The reality is that America has procured the image of a nation destroyer rather than one as a nation builder.
When a superpower invades and occupies without a comprehensive exit strategy, people will be displaced, refugees will be made, and state infrastructures will remain tattered. The combination of all three gives way to civil strife which will inevitably produce international ramifications as we are currently experiencing. The problem is that in the Middle East, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” produced a tinderbox which ignited a stagnant fire that has now reduced much of the region to ashes. If there was a true court of international law, one cannot help but wonder, would the United States be charged with war crimes specifically crimes against humanity for wars it started let alone finished?
It seems rather reasonable to argue the United States owes the millions of people it has displaced, directly or indirectly, amnesty through a program of refugee resettlement. Granted, it is not feasible to fly all refugees into the United States which is why the Trump Administration must adopt a foreign policy of nation building as opposed to one of carpet-bombing. The spirit of the American Dream is based on the building of a great nation and if that does not directly reflect on the values of our foreign policy, we can keep expecting international crises to intensify and worsen.
Each bomb dropped carries great potential to create a new terrorist.
Omar Alansari-Kreger, of Minneapolis, is a Muslim-American, a writer, and a social activist.
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