Monday, November 23, 2015
Reiboldt: Why I called for Gov. Nixon to reject Syrian refugees
Once again the holiday season is upon us and people are asking, “Where did this year go?” Yes, 2015 is rapidly winding down and this week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, a holiday that is deeply rooted in our respect and appreciation for Divine guidance and favors that can include the perseverance and wisdom of our founding fathers and their work in the establishment of our nation. The United States is the greatest nation the world has ever known. Our nation, a constitutional republic, has stood the test of time, providing liberty and freedom to all its citizens. This Thanksgiving, let us truly be grateful for the country in which we are privileged to live and the efforts and sacrifice it took to make it what it is.
This past week, like most of the members of the Missouri General Assembly, I answered a multitude of calls and letters concerning the Syrian refugee crisis. These calls and letters didn’t come from hysterical or inhumane individuals, but from concerned Americans who truly love our nation. On Friday, November 13, Islamic terrorists attacked innocent people in Paris, France, killing 129 and injuring over 360. This most recent attack has fueled the debate as to whether we should accept refugees from Syria here in the U.S. At least 30 state governors have come out against allowing any of them to relocate within the borders of their states. Many of these governors have stated that they don’t trust that the Obama Administration can accurately check the background of them. Other elected officials are concerned that allowing Syrian refugees to relocate within the United States perhaps could leave our country very vulnerable to future terrorist attacks.
According to the State Department, since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, the U.S. federal government has admitted 2,184 refugees from that country. Of that number, 2,098 (96%) are Muslim, while only 53 (2.4%) are Christians. The other 33 individuals profess no religion or a religion other than Islam or Christianity. According to the Obama Administration, in 2016 they plan to bring into our country at least 10,000 refugees from Syria, and according to Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017. These refugees come from all around the world; however, most of them will be coming from Muslin countries. This raises very important questions to which all Americans need answers: Will these people from Muslim nations coming to America be willing to assimilate? Will they accept our government? Will they abide by our laws? Will they become a future problem to our nation similar to what is going on in Europe today? Still other questions must be asked: Why won’t Muslim nations take these refugees? Why won’t some of the very wealthy oil-rich Gulf states open their doors to those fleeing their country’s conflicts? What kind of a financial burden will this create for our nation and the individual states? We are approaching a national debt of $19 trillion in the U.S. and have difficulty taking care of our own citizens, so who will get short-changed? What about U.S. veterans who have sacrificed so much for the country and have been promised necessary care and benefits, yet are becoming victims of funding shortfalls? These are some of my concerns and this is why I have joined with the Speaker of the House and my colleagues in the House to urge Governor Nixon to refuse the relocation of any Syrian Muslim refugees into Missouri.
Of course, we realize the immigration and relocation of refugees is a responsibility of the federal government and ultimately the decision will be made by them. However, we must encourage all elected officials to speak up and put our country and our security as the number one priority. Seemingly there appears to be many difficult times ahead in this old troubled world. May we all remember that God is still in control and we all should ask for His blessings and His care upon our nation.
This Thanksgiving, may we all truly appreciate the gifts of freedom and liberty, realizing that they are given to us by God. I wish for everyone a very happy and a very safe Thanksgiving.