If All Lives Matter, We Need to Start Taking in Refugees

“All Lives Matter.” Surely you’re familiar with that retort designed to shut down Black Lives Matter activists. Alas, the argument that all people are worthy of protection would seem a lot more believable right now if many of the same people who use that expression weren’t asking their government officials to keep Syrian refugees from entering the United States.

Do Syrian lives not matter? That’s the takeaway from governors and their constituents trying to block refugee immigration. When other countries close their borders to refugees attempting to flee from enemy combatants, they could very well be condemning them to death.

To put things in perspective, for the past four years, more people were killed in Syria every day than died in the terrorist attack on Paris this past Friday. What happened in Paris is devastating, and if a massacre of that size were to occur on a daily basis in the city, I doubt Americans would blame the French for leaving their country to escape this danger. Unfortunately, the same understanding is not being offered to Syrians in a similar predicament.

Right now, Westerners are attempting to keep out hundreds of thousands of peaceful refugees out of the fear that a few nefarious infiltrators will sneak in and commit violence in their new countries. That mentality doesn’t say, “All lives matter.” It says, “A minuscule threat to my life matters more than a concrete threat to your life.”

“All Lives Matter” is not the only irritating catchphrase to be called into question in light of the situation in Syria. The “Not All Men” mantra that emerged in 2014 in response to #YesAllWomen, an online campaign that points out how all women face sexual harassment, now seems extra ridiculous.

Men, particularly those with a distaste for feminist thinking, were quick to say that not all men behave poorly with women and it is horribly unfair to paint a group of people with such a broad stroke. A comparable “Not All Cops” slogan was coined this year to oppose police brutality protests since not all members of law enforcement are violent and racist.

Good luck finding too many #NotAllMen and #NotAllCops chanters willing to use the phrase “Not All Muslims.” Currently, a large segment of the Western world seems content to label all Muslims as terrorists, despite Islam being a religion that professes peace. After all, it’s easier to ban them all then to try to sort out the good from the bad, right?

Right-wing America’s hypocritical prejudices toward refugees are numerous. There are those who are willfully heartless toward refugees in order to prevent potential terror attacks, all the while ignoring that America averages a mass shooting every day. This conservative sect is the same one that will make no concessions when it comes to gun rights; apparently, violence is only worth fearing if it comes at the hands of a non-citizen.

Then there are the conservatives on social media saying we should use no resources to take in refugees when we have so many homeless families in need of help already in America. What looks like at least a somewhat compassionate stance doesn’t pass muster when you remember that Republican politicians continue to vote to defund social services and deride the poor as moochers looking for handouts. Show me a deal where not taking in Syrian refugees in any way helps the poor in America and maybe I’ll understand this argument.

Refugees’ lives matter. Just don’t expect the “All Lives Matter” crowd to agree.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

263 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

Since at least 1 of the Paris attackers had come into France as a refugee, our government needs to do everything it can to make sure that doesn't happen to us. The government's first responsibility is to keep us safe.

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Sen Heijkamp
Sayenne H2 years ago

I never understood the phrase right. I was thinking All live matter meant that the people agreeing on it think all live matters. My bad. But its quite deceptive I'd say.

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Nancy Black
Nancy Black2 years ago

Even with liberals, fear interferes with reason.

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Heidi W.
Heidi W2 years ago

Mike: you give a good description of how to get in to the USA as a refugee. Let me give the description to get into Europe. They enter, and then we can start your steps 1 to 20. See the difference?

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Mike Kelly
Mike K2 years ago

Terrorists enter the U.S. on tourist visas, not as refugees as the whiny-ass right wing would have you believe.

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Mike Kelly
Mike K2 years ago

Continued from below: 11. Third fingerprint screening (The refugee's fingerprints are screened against F.B.I and Homeland Security databases, which contain watch list information and past immigration encounters, including if the refugee previously applied for a visa at a United States embassy. Fingerprints are also checked against those collected by the Defense Department during operations in Iraq.) 12. Case is reviewed at U.S. Immigration headquarters. 13. Some cases referred for additional review. (Syrian applicants must undergo these two additional steps. Each is reviewed by a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services refugee specialist. Cases with "national security indicators" are given to the Homeland Security Department's fraud detection unit. 14. Extensive in person interview with Homeland Security officer. (Most of the interviews with Syrian refugees have been done in Amman, Jordan, and in Istanbul.) 15. Homeland Security approval is required. 16. Screening for contagious diseases. 17. Cultural orientation class. 18. Matched with an American resettlement agency. 19. Multi-agency security check before leaving for the United States. 20. Final security check at an American airport. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/20/us/why-it-takes-two-years-for-syrian-refugees-to-apply-to-enter-the-united-states.html?_r=0

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Mike Kelly
Mike K2 years ago

As everyone, except the panty peeing, crybaby, republican cowards knows, the Saudi Arabians who attacked the U.S. on 9/11/2001 all entered the U.S. by traveling first class on tourist visas. They landed in New York, and since Saudi Arabia is such a good friend of the United States, the murderers were given visas automatically, and without background checks. If a terrorist wanted to enter the U.S. as a refugee, he or she would need to go through 1. Registration with the United Nations. 2. Interview with the United Nations. 3. Get refugee status granted by the United Nations. 4. Get a referral by the United Nations for resettlement in the United States. (The United Nations decides if the person fits the definition of a refugee and whether to refer the person to a country for resettlement. Only the most vulnerable are referred, accounting for fewer than 1% of refugees worldwide. Some people spend years waiting in refugee camps.) 5. Interview with State Department contractors. 6. First background check. 7. Higher-level background check for some. 8. Another background check. (The refugee's name is run through law enforcement and intelligence databases for terrorist or criminal history. Some go through a higher-level clearance before they can continue. A third background check was introduced in 2008 for Iraqis but has since been expanded to all refugees ages 14 to 65.) 9. First fingerprint screening. 10. Second fingerprint screening. 11. Third fingerprint screening (The refugee's f

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Sherri O'Connor
Sherri OConnor2 years ago

Here is a clip, with stats, for you politically correct, bleeding-heart libs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u1J6EEhkyM. As for you, Mike Kelly, The 'French' citizens who caused this massive grief were muslims, not ethnic French. Huge difference. If you love them so much, turn in your shamrock, as you don`t deserve it.

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Sherri O'Connor
Sherri OConnor2 years ago

David Youmans.. The European 'refugees' coming to N. America way back when, were hard workers, found their own way, built your country and Canada, fought in two world wars, paid taxes and contributed in every way. Your refugees are parasitic, leeching off tax payers. They pay no taxes, get welfare, free health care, free housing, etc., and few respect the culture and people who let them in.

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