June 16, 2016.
Today’s commentary by Stephen Hollingshead highlights what ought to be common sense to anyone with an interest in long-term solutions. It’s misdirected compassion to think that refugees from war zones in the Middle East ought to be resettled in the United States or any other nation far from home, both geographically and culturally. There is much posturing over the risk of opening our borders to potential terrorists, the long-term cost to American taxpayers, and whether we’re being true to American ideals. All deserve serious discussion, and all miss the larger point.
Like the character in Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, most refugees don’t want to be dropped off in foreign lands and feel like they are pariahs. Nor do they want to be resettled in refugee camps for 17 years (the average length of stay, according to the United Nations). They just want a chance to go home, be safe, have a job, and practice their faith without fear of persecution.
What Mr. Hollingshead and others are doing to help the courageous families in Northern Iraq is both noble and pragmatic. It offers lessons, not only for American foreign policy, but also for how we treat our own.