Justice

Why We Can't Forget the Last Time We Denied Refugees

November 18th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

A viral meme posted on the Occupy Democrats Facebook page powerfully responds to those who want to deny Syrian refugees entry into the U.S.

Syrian refugee crisis

The meme, which has received more than 40,000 likes, reveals the historical consequences of refusing to help Holocaust victims in the late 1930s, a decision that caused more senseless deaths of innocent people. The message behind the meme remains relevant more than 75 years after the ship was turned away from Florida, as more than 20 U.S. governors have voiced opposition to allowing refugees from Syria into America. This comes in response to last week's Paris attacks, which killed at least 129 people.

RELATED: New Documents Reveal Anne Frank's Father Tried to Seek Refuge in U.S.

"The first and foremost responsibility of government is to keep its people safe," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Monday, according to NBC News. "We are working on measures to ensure ... that Texans will be kept safe from those refugees."

Abbott also wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama that a "Syrian 'refugee' appears to have been part of the Paris terror attack."

But President Obama recently took politicians to task for claiming that refugees should have to pass a religious test to get into other countries.

ALSO: Why It's Disgraceful to Blame Refugees for the Attacks in Paris

"When I hear folks say that, 'Well maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims,' [and] when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which [a] person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that's shameful," Obama said. "That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion."

 

Pres. Obama just slammed the hypocrisy of politicians who want to refuse refugees on religious grounds. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1SUwLsJ

Posted by ATTN: on Monday, November 16, 2015

ATTN: contributor Thor Benson echoed a similar sentiment in a piece about the lack of humanity that comes with blaming the Paris attacks on refugees:

"Thousands of refugees have died trying to get to Europe from Syria. Bodies wash up on the Mediterranean shores. These people are trying to escape poverty, radical terrorism and repressive regimes, but we too often close the door on them or call them by disparaging names ... The refugees are victims of extreme ideologies, and they are trying to get to a safer place."

A new New York Times archive tweet reveals former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's compassion towards refugees during the late 1930s:

"We must not let ourselves be moved by fear in this country," Roosevelt said. "We have seen that happen too many times in other countries. Sometimes I worry about the possibility that we will follow their example."

ALSO: The Sad Truth Behind What's in Store for Refugees Headed for America