In light of the mounting criticism surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis in America, this meme perfectly demonstrates how important it is for America to pay it forward in accepting Syrian refugees.
Indeed, it is true, America was built by immigrants—or more specifically, refugees—and survived thanks to the help of some Native Americans. Today, we call those refugees another name—pilgrims, as Smithsonian points out.
Like the majority of people fleeing Syria today, America's pilgrims also wanted to escape undesirable circumstances in their countries once upon a time. According to the Library of Congress, whoever did not practice the religion endorsed by the government would be force to convert or face punishment. This resulted in the persecution of many Catholics and Protestants and a mass exodus out of Europe.
Of those people fleeing Europe, some boarded a little ship called the Mayflower. That ship—carrying roughly 100 people—landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts during the winter. However, most pilgrims would have died during the harsh winter had it not been for the open arms of the Native Americans from the Popanoket tribe. Specifically, one Native American man named Squanto taught the pilgrims how to plant corn and survive in the winter. It was based on this hospitality from the Popanoket tribe that the pilgrims decided to hold a feast in their honor, which later became known as Thanksgiving.
But despite America's history, more Americans and conservative political leaders alike are calling for the U.S. to shut its doors to refugees.
According to CNN more than half of U.S. governors say that Syrian refugees are not welcome in their home states, including Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way. We refuse Syrian refugees. https://t.co/HTpflJUiPc— Gov. Robert Bentley (@GovernorBentley) November 16, 2015
I’ve issued an executive order directing state agency heads to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in GA. https://t.co/4b41tsIYcm— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) November 16, 2015
President Barack Obama openly criticized political leaders who were against accepting refugees, calling the anti-refugee rhetoric a "betrayal of American values," at the G-20 Summit in Turkey on Monday.