Bernie Sanders: Syrian Refugees Need Our Help

During a rally in Cleveland on Monday evening, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed the ongoing crisis of Syrian refugees fleeing the Islamic State. In a press release sent shortly after his appearance ended, the Vermont senator called for a “concerted international effort” to vanquish ISIS.

He also criticized the fear mongering among U.S. political leaders and talking heads who are calling for the United States to close its borders to Syrian refugees and other refugees seeking asylum from terrorists.

“In my view, now is the time for developing a serious and effective approach to destroy ISIS. Now is not the time for taking cheap political advantage of this tragedy. Now is the time…to unite the world in an organized campaign against ISIS that will eliminate the stain of ISIS from this world.”

“But let me also say that now is not the time for demagoguery and fear mongering…During these difficult times, we will not succumb to Islamaphobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees who are fleeing Syria and Afghanistan. We will do what we do best and that is to be Americans — fighting racism, fighting xenophobia, fighting fear.”

Of course, Sanders’ belief that we must not turn away from Syrian refugees is mocked by political and business pundits alike, as is his assertion that climate change directly leads to increased international terrorism.

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 3: Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center October 3, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Thousands of people attended the rally, one of the biggest in recent state history for a politician. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Mark Steyn appeared on Fox Business on Monday. During his interview, Steyn sarcastically conjured up a scenario where ISIS terrorists behead Sanders as a result of climate change.

“Yeah, he’s brilliant that guy. I mean, al-Gaghdadi will be sawing Bernie Sanders’ head off, and he’ll be saying as his neck is being sliced, ‘If only we’d had an emissions trading scheme.’ This is insane and it shows the level of delusion and denial among the Western political leadership.”

It’s not clear in Steyn’s scenario how the terrorists get hold of Bernie, which is far-fetched at best.

CNN reports that a man who called himself Ahmad al Muhammad claimed he was a Syrian and may have held an emergency passport. He then entered Greece on October 3, blending in with the wave of Syrian refugee immigrants.

Because of this, 24 states have said they will not cooperate in accepting Syrian refugees, including Texas and Illinois.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to president Barack Obama informing him that Texas will not be participating in any resettlement program. In a letter dated November 16, 2015, the governor made his reservations about the program clear.

“Given the tragic attack in Paris and the threats we have already seen in Texas, coupled with the FBI director’s acknowledgement that we do not have the information necessary to effectively vet Syrian nationals, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees…being resettled in Texas.”

Vermont, which is Bernie Sanders’ home state, is one of the few that has committed to accepting Syrian refugees. Colorado, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Washington state have also opened their doors to those seeking asylum within the United States. New Mexico, California, and New York have not made any statements as to whether they will accept refugees fleeing the violence.

Reince Preibus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee was outspokenly critical of President Obama’s strategy concerning ISIS.

“Never before have I seen an American president project such weakness on the global stage.”

Sanders, however, disagreed with this statement, calling Preibus’ implication that the president ought to wage an all-out war, similar to the one George W. Bush waged in Iraq and Afghanistan starting in 2002. He cited 6,700 dead Americans, hundreds of thousands wounded, $5 trillion spent on the war and a “massive instability” in the Middle East as factors that contributed to the rise of ISIS.

“Yes, a worldwide coalition must defeat ISIS. But, no, the United States must not be involved in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.”

This means, despite the inevitable risks, Sanders believes the United States must join other nations in welcoming people fleeing violence. After all, this country was founded by people fleeing religious persecution, just as the Syrian refugees are fleeing their homes. Sanders also reminded his Cleveland audience that Islamic State can and will be eradicated if the effort is global.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]