U.S. to Boost Refugee Intake by 30,000 Over Two Years

Daily News Article - September 22, 2015


1. What is the difference between a refugee and a migrant and/or immigrant? Be specific. (See the link under “Resources” below)

2. a) How is the Obama administration changing the number of refugees we accept annually? Be specific about the details provided by Secretary of State John Kerry.
b) Compare the number of Syrians we will accept with the number previously taken in.

3. Why do some Republican lawmakers (and many Americans) oppose this plan? What alternative do some suggest? Be specific.

4. a) How does Secretary Kerry address these concerns?
b) How confident are you in these assurances?

5. Increasing the number of refugees accepted per year does not require Congressional approval. What will the Obama administration need to implement the increased number?

6. How much money has the U.S. already given to aid groups in the region dealing with Syrian refugees (with the hope that they will be there temporarily and will be able to return home once the conflict is over)?

7. From paragraph 10:

Europe’s migrant crisis has also given new urgency to finding a political solution to the 4½-year war in Syria, the source of many of the people flocking to Europe. More than four million Syrians have fled the country since 2011.

a) What does Secretary Kerry plan on doing at the UN General Assembly this week to address this crisis?

b) How effective do you think Secretary Kerry’s attempts will be?

c) The purpose of the U.N. (from its website) is “to bring all nations of the world together to work for peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people.”
The UN Security Council’s role in international collective security is defined by the UN Charter, which authorizes the Security Council to investigate any situation threatening international peace; recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute; call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal, and radio communications, or to sever diplomatic relations; and enforce its decisions militarily, or by any means necessary.
How effective do you think the UN is in fulfilling its purpose?

8. The richest Gulf Arab states (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar) are U.S. allies.  These countries are also the diplomatic and financial sponsors of Syria's rebel groups and are not taking any refugees.
While it's true that the Gulf States have previously allowed thousands of Syrians to come on work visas, many Syrians say they face severe restrictions in these countries. Some have decided they would rather risk the difficult road to Europe. "I will live here for five years, ten years, and then what?" says Dahlia, a Syrian who fled her home in Aleppo and joined relatives in the Gulf city-state of Dubai. "You never belong, you never feel you are safe, your residency can be canceled at any time and then what? Go where?"
Citizenship is not an option, even for workers who stay for decades.
What do you think the Obama administration should ask the Gulf Arab states to do in response to this crisis?

9. Of the presidential candidates, only one of 22 contenders – former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, said that the US should take in more refugees and put forward a specific number. In a statement, Gov. O’Malley called on the government to accept 65,000 refugees from Syria over the next year. “If Germany – a country with one-fourth our population – can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we – the nation of immigrants and refugees – can do more,” O’Malley said in a statement.
a) What do you think of Gov. O’Malley’s assertion? Explain your answer.

b) Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, a Republican, suggested that no additional refugees should be taken in until the US contends with the threat posed by the Islamic State. “What we should be doing is dealing with ISIS. Until we start dealing directly with ISIS, we’re avoiding the core of the problem,” Walker said in response to a question by the Guardian during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “The problem is that ISIS is running amok in these parts of the world. The United States needs to step up and deal with it.”
What do you think of Gov. Walker’s assertion? Explain your answer.

c) Several campaigns, including those of top contenders such as Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and her closest challenger, Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the specific question of whether the US should accept more refugees.
Why do you think this is so?

d) Ask a parent to answer the questions in #9. Compare your answers.