Advocate: Denying Syrian refugees is like letting ISIS win

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder closed Michigan's border to Syrian refugees.

He is now one of numerous Republican governors to make the decision, which he says is not a permanent one. It comes three days after the deadly Paris attacks.

The move comes after reports some of the attackers may have crossed into the city as refugees.

But one local doctor says turning our backs on the humanitarian crisis would be a mistake.

Gov. Rick Snyder says the suspension of Syrian refugees coming into the state is only temporary, but Dr. Yahya Basha said it lets the terrorists win and the victims are being penalized.

On the back of a truck with 50 people, Moustafa Assad and his family were able to flee war-torn Syria and eventually start a new life in Garden City.

Dr. Yahya Basha, who immigrated here in the 1970s, translated for the family who arrived in June and still speak little English.

"Because of the continuous bombing by the Air Force, other missiles his house was flattened so he ran," said Basha translating for Assad. "It's getting easier, he's happy he's here."

The Assads along with about 100 other refugees fled to Michigan. Thousands more were expected to follow until the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris and Lebanon led to Snyder suspending efforts and take a closer look at border security.

"Most people are not terrorists and we have to be thoughtful about helping people around the world," Snyder said. "This is just to be prudent to make sure that some terrorist element is not entering our country.

"It is to work with the Department of Homeland Security to do that."

Reportedly a Syrian passport that was found at the scene of one of the attacks matches a refugee who traveled through Greece.

Andy Arena, a former FBI special agent, who now works for the Detroit Crime Commission, supports Snyder's decision. He feels we need to do a better job at vetting who comes into this country recognizing fleeing refugees is a perfect way for ISIS to sneak attackers into the state.

"They are very sophisticated at using false identification and sneaking people into the country," Arena said. "Are we at the top of our game, I don't think so."

Basha, an advocate for Syrian refugees, believes we need focus on conquering ISIS. He claims halting refugees from entering the state is just letting the terrorists win.

"If it is well-scrutinized, why do we have to have the significant anxiety and over-reaction," he said. "We don't want ISIS to win; we don't want the people penalized for someone else's guilt."

Basha breaks down in tears when he thinks about the refugee crisis and the millions Syrian families left behind. That included Assad's daughter's family and even his own - whose whereabouts are unknown.

"It's difficult to see people because I have cousins family all over the world you don't know what happened to them.”

And with that, Basha says he plans to work with the government and Snyder to lobby for Syrian refugees to be able to enter Michigan once again. He is also working with several organizations to send aid overseas for the refugees.

There is still no way to identify members of ISIS willing to die for the cause.
 


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