Illustration by Will Mauriz
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The United States is, by composition, a nation of immigrants and a nation of refugees. The Pilgrims exodus in hopes of finding a place to safely practice their religion is at the heart of American identity. Since its inception the U.S. has been a safe haven for those fleeing oppression and death, for those who sought to create a life for themselves of their own accord.

Those same values must remain at the heart of U.S. policy when it comes to addressing today’s refugee crisis. American citizens have grown timid and fearful of the world after a decade of terrorist attacks both in Europe and at home. In this critical time, America’s leaders must ensure that the U.S. remains a place where all may seek freedom from oppression and death.

The BBC reported that the U.S. will take in 110,000 new Syrian refugees in the 2017 fiscal year, which is a significant increase from the 85,000 that arrived in the previous year. According to the U.N. over 9 million people have been displaced since the start of the civil war in Syria six years ago.

110,000 is just a drop in the bucket and the U.S. should be ashamed it’s not doing more, Especially since it’s spent the better part of the past 20 years playing sandbox in the Middle East with careless foreign policies and unjust wars.

Still today the Russian and American heads of state are engaged in a dick-measuring contest at the expense of Syrian lives. In recent months, both sides have escalated their support for their respective factions, making it evident that a peaceful end to the conflict anytime soon is merely a pipe dream.

Business Insider reported that just last week the Russian military deployed advanced surface-to-air missile systems to defend territory held by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. These systems would make it nearly impossible for the U.S.-led coalition to conduct airstrikes, which has been Washington’s main weapon against the Assad regime and ISIL forces in the region.

People are dying. Mothers, fathers, children are dying while the world’s two biggest superpowers play war games and Americans are too petrified or, even worse, too lazy act. If Americans will not take action to end the conflict in Syria than it should have no argument against welcoming in refugees into the U.S. with open arms.

The BBC reported that a very short-lived ceasefire in Syria came to an end after an aid convoy, headed for the besieged town of Aleppo, was destroyed by an airstrike. Both Russia and the U.S. blame each other for the airstrike and the end of the ceasefire.

The U.S. government and the American people have a responsibility to the people they’ve failed. The U.S. government’s years of unsustainable foreign policies have led to a completely unstable Middle East and the Syrian conflict is a black hole that will suck the U.S. into years of dangerous global intervention.

According to Time, refugees must first obtain a referral from the U.N.’s refugee agency that is responsible for registering some 15 million asylum seekers around the world before they can even be considered for relocation to the U.S. The process includes an in-depth interview, home country reference checks and biological screening such as iris scans, with military combatants, weeded out.

When they arrive in the U.S. they are placed in dozens of states across the country, but most are in big states with large immigrant populations, such as California, Texas, Illinois and Michigan.

With military and diplomatic strategies proving to be ineffective in ending the civil war in Syria, the U.S. has a responsibility to protect those it has put in harm’s way.

There in an inscription on the Statue of Liberty that reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The U.S. must continue to hold up its lamp, shining a light on the path of freedom for all men and women who seek it, and Americans must accept responsibility for the parts of the world they’ve left unstable.

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