This Scottish Newspaper's Response To Syrian Refugees Could Teach The United States A Thing Or Two
As Americans debate whether or not Syrian refugees should be allowed into the country, some European countries are, thankfully, welcoming them with open arms. Scotland's first group arrived at Glasgow International Airport on Tuesday and a Scottish newspaper had the perfect response to the refugee crisis: The National's front page Tuesday read: "To the first refugees fleeing war-torn Syria who will arrive at Glasgow Airport today, we'd just like to say: Welcome to Scotland." The country didn't just begrudgingly let refugees enter its borders — the Scots actually showed that they want to shelter those fleeing the violence.
More than 100 Syrians arrived in Glasgow as part of the U.K.'s plan to take in 1,000 refugees before Christmas and Scotland's government has publicly supported the plan, pledging to shelter 40 percent of the 1,000 people. In a speech Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked Scots to empathize with the people fleeing the violence. "We are due to welcome Syrian refugees to Scotland tomorrow and we need to show that we are a country of compassion and acceptance," she said. "These people are fleeing their homes in the search for protection and security, and we are their refuge. We cannot let the actions of the few destroy the safety of the many."
Scotland's warm welcome is a stark contrast to America's reluctance to take in Syrian refugees. A total of 31 governors said they won't accept refugees into their states after authorities revealed that one suspect in the Paris attacks entered Europe by posing as a refugee fleeing through Greece. However, the governors' ability to refuse refugees has been questioned, and Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano said on the network Tuesday: "The governors have no say in this because of a 2005 statute in which the Congress gave the president unlimited authority, meaning numerically unlimited. He says he wants to bring 75,000 in, but he could change that number on his own." Napolitano explained that if Syrians are housed in federal facilities, the state would still have to provide social services, public education, and emergency room treatment when necessary.
President Obama pledged in September to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees entry into America next year, which would be allocated from the quota of 75,000 refugees accepted into the U.S. in the 2016 fiscal year. The White House confirmed that he won't change his plan because of the terrorist attacks in Paris, saying the administration is confident it can identify anyone who poses a threat before they arrive in the U.S.
America's anti-refugee governors could learn a valuable lesson from Scotland, but they may be forced to accept Syrians whether they welcome them or not.