Siloam responds to refugee crisis

The United States is stated to increase the number of refugees it accepts beginning this month by 15,000. Currently, the U.S. accepts 70,000 refugees from around the world, but will increase that number to 85,000 over the next year.

In addition, John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, announced that the U.S. will take in another 100,000 refugees in 2017.

As millions of Syrian refugees search for safety, some Americans are skeptical of opening the doors to their country. However, many of the people in Siloam Springs, Ark., seem to be more accepting.

Brittany Ayers, junior psychology major, believes the U.S. should provide shelter for the refugees because the U.S. is most capable.

“We have the best ability to cater to their needs,” Ayers said.

When asked whether they thought the United States was doing enough to help European nations and the refugees in the midst of this crisis, many residents of Siloam Springs thought not.

Melissa Mitchell, coordinator of audio-video-lighting (AVL) technologies, said that taking in the 100,000 refugees was “not even close” to enough aid.

Mitchell believes that America was founded as a place for people like the refugees to run to for safety. Mitchell’s ancestors were refugees who fled to America to escape hard conditions in Europe, which has given her strong feelings of sympathy for the refugees.

“If it was the reverse, we’d want them to open their door for us,” Mitchell said.

Carol Johnson, resident of Siloam Springs, believes that the United States should not interfere in European issues.

“We shouldn’t be taking any of them,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that the aid the U.S. could offer to the refugees would barely accomplish anything. Instead of helping the refugees, she said, the government should take care of the root of the problem: ISIS. She believes that, if the problem is solved, the refugees could return to their homes.

Ingrid Gibson, sophomore international business major, believes that the United States should have compassion on those who are less fortunate. It is the Christ-like thing to do to offer shelter to those who are in desperate need of it, Gibson said.

Robert Clauson Jr., another Siloam Springs resident, offered a unique view on the refugee crisis. Hurricane Katrina destroyed Clauson’s home in 2005. He and his father were stranded for days before any aid arrived, and even after they were rescued, they were unable to find food, shelter or transportation.

Because of this, he sympathized with the refugees in Europe. Clauson maintained that the United States should do all it can to help those suffering in Europe.

“I’m just hoping that they can get them on their feet,” Clauson said, referring to the government’s plan for the refugees once they reach the United States.

“But, at the same time, you can’t forget to take care of home,” Clauson said. He spoke of the millions of people in the U.S. without homes or jobs who need aid just as much as the refugees in Europe.

Lucy Jones, resident of Siloam Springs, echoed that sentiment. The United States is already in poor shape, she said, and Americans should care for their own people before they accept more, no matter how much she grieves for the refugees.