The Opinion Shop

High school students’ opinions on Paris attacks, ISIS, Syrian refugees

With the Paris attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis such a hot topic, we received many letters from an honors English class from Apex Friendship High School. Here is a sampling:

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By taking in refugees, no matter the number, we are putting our own in people in jeopardy. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything at all, because of course we should help. The incoming refugees are causing discrepancies in our economy, but not just that, there could be terrorists coming over hidden in the groups. Are we, as a nation, really ready to accept these people into our country? America seems to care more about our “looks” than the actual safety and reality of what’s going on. America is also claiming to do all this helping, but we haven’t done anything over in Syria to get rid of ISIS, which is the root cause of all these problems. If America took more action to get rid of ISIS, everyone would be in a much better position and people wouldn’t need to flee. In the article “There is only one way to destroy ISIS” from thenation.com, it compares ISIS to bubbles in a pot and states that we should attack each one at the bottom; the root of it. And I think that is exactly what needs to happen. Attack the roots, ISIS, and everything will fall into place.

Cassidy Vaughn

Holly Springs

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The refugees from Syria should not be permitted to enter into the U.S. Following the Paris attacks, everyone feared, and Paul Krugman said “Horror, it’s the natural human reaction, but let’s be clear; it’s also the reaction terrorists want.” Paris had open arms and welcomed the refugees in, but their kindness backfired. While the refugees were entering Paris, the terrorists were able to sneak in. The same thing could happen to the U.S. We don’t have the ability to screen every refugee who would enter our country. This will cause constant fear among our people. “We have no idea who these people are, and we’re the worst when it comes to paperwork,” Donald Trump says. If the refugees come into the U.S., how will we know who has gotten into our country and who is working with who since we don’t keep up with paperwork? This issue will come back to the problem of causing fear and making the terrorists have the upper hand. So, no, the refugees should not be allowed into our country.

Emma Coiley

Holly Springs

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What to do with the Syrian refugees and deplorable ISIS? Well, to begin we should take in the refugees as our own, not only because we are a superpower and it is expected of us but also because we are decent human beings with moral obligations. The governors of America threatening to shut down their stateborders is extremely Islamophobic and repulsive. If we were in the same boat as those unfortunate refugees, wouldn’t you hope that a country like America would take you in without debate over whether or not it would initiate a terrorist attack? Let us not be afraid of the hypothetical. It is foolish of us to just assume they are all a part of ISIS. You know what they say about assuming … As for ISIS, they are weak and dwindling as it is. We should make saving and relocating the refugees top priority. After helping the refugees we can begin to weaken ISIS further, preferably through drone attacks if possible. It would be more beneficial to America if we didn’t send in troops, as to not lose more American lives.

Carson Myers

Apex

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It is in this country’s best interest to not allow the Syrian refugees into the United States. Granted that most Muslims are very peaceful, kind people, but there are some who aren’t. And it is next to impossible to tell who’s who. It is also very expensive to resettle all the refugees. The government’s money would be much better spent if it was all dedicated to helping the Syrians in Jordan to get food, shelter and resettle there. If we do let the refugees past our borders, there is no way to stop ISIS from getting past as well. If we do want to help the refugees, we have to stop ISIS first. There is no single plan to accomplish this, but one way that might work is ending the Syrian civil war, re-establishing a stable government, and pulling out our troops. There is no way to tell that this will work, but what the world has been doing so far hasn’t had much success, either.

Kathryn Thomann

Apex

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My take on the Syrian refugee crisis tends to focus largely around the subject of humanitarian matters, not so much the dangers immigrants pose to our country. We do enough as it is to help innocent Syrian civilians; we have spent $4.5 billion in financial assistance for them, and the original U.S. intake for refugees was set at 70,000 but we now have increased it to over 100,000. According to whitehouse.gov, government officials believe “it is critical to helping people where they are, so they are not forced to take perilous journeys on fierce seas.” My solution is to move them to safe place in a different country near where they originally are so they are not traveling dangerously overseas, but they would still feel safe and close to home. This way it would also reduce the risk of terrorists posed as Syrian refugees coming into our country. Recently five terrorists were caught at the country’s border with forged visas. So by focusing on continuing the financial aid to Syrian civilians and finding them a safer place to live close by, it ensures the safety of them and prevents any threats that may be posed to our country.

Sabrina Raynor

Holly Springs

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There are many tantalizing options on what to do concerning the crisis in Syria. Concerning ISIS, my belief is that we should send troops in and decimate any resistance precluding as what Jeb Bush said, “I tell the American public that a caliphate the size of Indiana garners strength each and every day if it’s not taken out.” This would be ghastly and cause grander a loss of life than if we would decide to take action. Concerning the thousands of refugees streaming out of the country, I believe we should allow them in. I understand that we are terrified of terrorists gaining admittance to the country. Except for the fact that it would be more straightforward to get in by more conventional means. In addition to this, Germany has taken in close to 800,000 refugees and nothing like what we’ve observed in Paris has occurred. Also a reporter from The New York Times said, “In my time in the United Kingdom, I have met refugees from places like Syria and Afghanistan and all of them show signs of love and compassion, and are caring people who are fleeing persecution from groups like ISIS and the Taliban.”

Connor Rettammel

Apex

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With all the talk about Syrian war crisis going on in the Middle East, we hear a lot about what would be the most effective way to deal with the terrorists, and we hear about the Syrian refugees who are suffering in war-torn areas. But we need to look more toward the people who are suffering due to the actions of the radicals in their country. It’s not the fault of the innocent civilians that there is war and violence, and we are not treating them with the respect they deserve. The Syrian refugees are people, too, and we seem to forget that. We see them as numbers, but they are humans too with lives and families who they love. This time of year is seen as the season of giving, so why as a nation are we not giving to these human lives when they are in a need for some love that we can give? While we may be able to give only supplies to the Syrian refugees, we are giving them a chance to get a better life. Since this is the season of giving, let’s give to the refugees in the Middle East.

Megan Heinz

Apex

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The crisis that America faces is whether to bring in the refugees of Syria. It would be smart and easy for us to keep them out of our country altogether, but those people still need protection. They should be let in with serious background checks enforced, but only around 5,000 a year, and they should be in small populated areas and somewhat secluded. Those we deny access to we should give supply to such as necessities vital to live. The threat these people pose as possibly being terrorists is something that cannot go unnoticed. We need to take action on ISIS to prove to the terrorist group that we aren’t a force to be reckoned with. We should up our security and train our military harder than ever and recruit new people for the cause. Another thing we should do is send a message to the terrorist group and let them be aware that we are prepared to fight them and back up any other countries they pose a threat to or attack from this day forward. We need to our our foot down and stop allowing them to attack us with no penalty.

Meagan Plowman

Apex

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I see both sides of whether to let the Syrian refugees into the United States, but I believe the better idea would be to relocate the refugees somewhere safe and closer to Syria because it costs so much more money to take them to the U.S. In fact, it takes the same amount of money to take one refugee to the U.S. as it does to take 12 somewhere closer. It is so economically inefficient to take refugees to the U.S., and our vetting system isn’t the greatest. In addition, many countries closer to Syria are safe and prospering like the U.S. and are willing to take them in. We should do that at least until we take care of ISIS. Now to take care of ISIS, I think once we help a majority of the refugees, we should do a combination of using ground troops and bombings. That should be enough to weaken and get rid of them for good.

Tim Partridge

Apex

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“This could be one of the great Trojan horses,” and I agree with Donald Trump. For once, Trump’s human indecency might just protect our nation from the calamity that could befall us. That’s right, I said it, allowing those in from a country filled with war and destruction might not be the best decision. Who knows which among them are innocent and in need of assistance, and those who are here to wreak havoc? According to The New York Times, the Syrian refugees are mainly composed of, surprisingly, men; outnumbering “the women by nearly five to one.” Why is it that the refugees mainly consist of males? That makes me a little suspicious. For all we know, the men – even the women – could endanger the lives of those here. Wait, did I hear someone say that women aren’t capable of heinous acts such as the bombings in Paris? Has anyone forgotten about Hasna Aitboulahcen, her attempts to cause a massacre in Saint-Denis? With evidence such as, “… She held her hands up, but she didn’t reveal her face,” making her just as guilty (Dailymail.co.uk). All in all, refugees should not be accepted, and 30 U.S. governors agree (insider.foxnews.com).

Kim Nguyen

Apex

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There is an extreme amount of controversy surrounding refugees from Syria, I feel that we should take in refugees. One of the most famous settlements is the U.S. was Plymouth colony, which was created by people who were fleeing from persecution in Britain. The U.S. has long been a place where refugees have fled in order to escape persecution. We also try to get governments abusing people/minorities to change these principles. Also while the events in Paris were tragic, they are very unlikely to happen here. According to Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin, scholars at Dartmouth University and authors of “The Age of Sacred Terror,” strict security in both airports and on borders help prevent terrorists from getting in. Muslims are also much less integrated here than they are there. Many Muslims are still discriminated against in Europe causing more sympathy to extremist movements. Our country has its roots based in escaping persecution. It would be hypocritical for us to turn down people trying to escape persecution.

Brian Nunnally Jr.

Apex

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As a high school student in Wake County, I am disappointed in the opinion of the public and politicians regarding refugees. Immigrants are a crucial element in the growth of the United States as a world leader. Why would states, including our own, deny entry to Syrian refugees during this crisis?

We do not want to be known for turning our backs on displaced people. We should be known for doing everything possible in efforts to save lives and provide asylum.

I have been brought up with values of loving my neighbors. America should continue to aid their neighbors by allowing refugees to come in.

If stringent security checks are enforced, the very small risk of letting in a single terrorist should not prevent the entrance of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians in pursuit of a safe haven and better opportunities. These are America’s values, and this is the chance refugees deserve.

Olivia Sessions

Apex

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In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, young Americans, including myself, must address a complex, politicized humanitarian crisis. To aid desperate refugees and challenge ISIS simultaneously, the U.S. must admit Syrians.

Over 20 million refugees entered the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program last year, providing a more viable entrance for terrorists than our thorough vetting process. Thus, fearing refugees gives ISIS exactly what it desires: control.

A radical manifestation, ISIS must be countered from the core. We cannot shut our borders, not just because of hypocrisy, but because Muslim allies are essential to defeating terror organizations. Scott Atran, with France’s National Center for Scientific Research says, “We’ve got to provide young people … some other mode of life that … provides significance,” to counter ISIS’ narrative. Though economically pragmatic to keep Syrians in neighboring countries, our moral obligation as advocates of mankind is to welcome Syrians, more than half of which are under 18, according to the U.N. We must allow them to flourish, address basic needs, preserve cultural identity and access education.

To undermine ISIS, we have to accept refugees, because there is nothing more terrifying to terrorists than young, healthy people with books in their hands.

Caroline Brogden

Apex

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Syrian refugees shouldn’t be allowed into the United States. Middle-class American families work hard, and Syrians having less education would use our resources and have our taxes pay for them.

The Center for Immigration Studies calculated it costs 12 times more to resettle a refugee here than in the Middle East. We’ve let others into our country earlier, but none has posed much of a threat. In the National Review, Rick Lowry said, “We’re already incredibly generous to migrants, letting in 100,000 last year that haven’t left.” This isn’t the most cost effective way to help, as we won’t know whether they’re terrorists.

Following the Paris attack, we found out that one of the attackers was a disguised refugee. This could easily happen here as it’s impossible to screen refugees, according to Mark Krikorian of the National Review.

Donald Trump said, “They could be ISIS. This could be one of the greatest tactical ploys of all time,” and I agree.

We can’t control everyone coming in. Paris welcomed the refugees just like we would, and it’s a prime example of what could happen to us if we let them into the U.S.

Katie Weagel

Holly Springs

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