Four million refugees have been fleeing Syria to Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey to escape their home country because of the dangerous living conditions and lack of basic necessities. They flee at night to avoid being shot, bombed or held hostage by the military. It’s nearly impossible to ascertain the death toll of this catastrophe because most of these emigrants are undocumented.
Anti-government protests beginning in the Arab Spring of 2011 have caused tension throughout the nation, and eventually led to the creation of the Free Syrian Army and a massive civil war that is estimated to have killed at least 220,000 people, says mercycorps.com.
However, the countries in which these refugees have sought shelter have become too crowded and cannot sustain the vast influx of Syrians who need a place to go. Recently, these refugees have begun the dangerous journey of crossing the Mediterranean in order to seek asylum.
Europe has more Syrian immigrants than it has room for. The Pope has called Europeans and all members of the Catholic Church to “open the doors of [their] hearts,” to these refugees, and house Syrians if possible. But what about us Christians here in the US?
Catholics in America have a responsibility to give aid when possible and if need be, allow refugees into our hearts and homes here in the United States.
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 10:18-19, “He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.” But America hasn’t accepted many Syrian refugees thus far.
According to NBC News, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that by 2017, anywhere from 10,000 to 65,000 of the 100,000 annual refugees to America will be from Syria. Additionally, many of the presidential candidates from the Democratic Party are promising to increase this number, saying that it is our responsibility to do more than give monetary aid.
While accepting Syrian immigrants to the U.S. is difficult and expensive–up to $16,000 per person, according to The Atlantic–we must keep an open mind about letting in these desperate refugees. Even though they may seem far away and outside of our responsibility, the Syrians are families with children who are in need of our help. We must remember that the Syrians are people too. We have so many privileges and resources here — are we not able to share them?
Obviously, we are just teenage girls still living with our parents and their rules. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help, even if we may not be able to open up our homes to the refugees.
Catholic Relief Services, a humanitarian aid agency committed to serving the disadvantaged around the globe, is accepting donations to a school in Jordan for Syrian refugees that offers education and counseling to young children. If you are able and wish to accept the call to help the Syrian immigrants, you can visit their website at crs.org.