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The U.S. Should Let In 100,000 Syrian Refugees

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  • Volley Round: America's Interest in Syrian Refugee Crisis

    Clip: Debaters address the question of whether or not it is in America's best interest to allow in 100,000 Syrian refugees.

  • A Refugee Policy Based on Need and Not Skill

    Clip: Robert Ford says America should not discriminate against certain Syrian refugees while Jessica Vaughn suggests assistance is more effective than resettlement.

  • Can U.S. Choose Refugees that Will Assimilate into Culture?

    Clip: David Frum and David Miliband discuss the possibility of being selective about which Syrian Refugees are allowed to immigrate to the United States based on how well they can integrate into society.

  • Why the U.S. Should Let in 100,000 Syrian Refugees

    David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee and Robert S. Ford, a former ambassador to Syria, argue FOR the motion "The U.S. Should Let in 100,000 Syrian Refugees."

  • Why the U.S. Should NOT Let in 100,000 Syrian Refugees

    David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic, and Jessica Vaughan, director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies argue AGAINST the motion "The U.S. Should Let In 100,000 Syrian Refugees."

Debate Details

Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. Most have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, but many have risked death to reach Europe and the possibility of a better life. Unlike Europe and Syria’s neighbors, the United States has had the advantage of picking and choosing from afar, taking in just over 2,000 Syrian refugees since the war’s start. The Obama administration has pledged to take another 10,000 in 2016, but there are some who suggest that we are falling well below the number that we can and should accept. What are our moral obligations, and what are the cultural, economic, and security issues that must be taken into account? Should the U.S. let in 100,000 Syrian refugees?

The Debaters

For the motion

Robert Ford

Sr. Fellow, Middle East Inst. & Fmr. U.S. Ambassador to Syria

Robert S. Ford is currently a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, where he writes about developments in the Levant and North Africa. From... Read More

David Miliband

President & CEO, International Rescue Committee & Fmr. U.K. Foreign Secretary

David Miliband is president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where he oversees the agency’s humanitarian relief operations in... Read More

Against the motion

David Frum

Senior Editor, The Atlantic

David Frum is a senior editor at The Atlantic. From 2001 to 2002, he served as speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush and... Read More

Jessica Vaughan

Dir. of Policy Studies, Center for Immigration Studies

Jessica M. Vaughan serves as Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a DC-based research institute that examines... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Refugees are subjected to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.
  • The U.S. has led the world in refugee resettlement since World War II, and it can and should do more to respond to this growing humanitarian crisis.
  • The U.S. is admitting the most vulnerable refugees into the country, focusing on women, children, and survivors of violence.
Against The Motion
  • The U.S. cannot adequately screen refugees when there are no records to check against, and fraudulent documents are in wide circulation.
  • We can help more Syrian refugees, and help them more effectively, by providing aid to them in neighboring Middle Eastern countries.
  • We only need to look to Europe to see how welcoming massive numbers of refugees and migrants has created internal insecurity.

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  • Live Audience
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  • Results
  • Breakdown

The Research

The Research

The Confused Person's Guide to the Syrian Civil War

Kathy Gilsinan
November 15, 2015

A brief primer.

Fact-Checking a Fact Sheet on Refugee Resettlement

Nayla Rush
November 1, 2015

A rebuttal to MPI’s ‘Ten Facts about U.S. Refugee Resettlement.’

Ten Facts about U.S. Refugee Resettlement

Randy Capps and Michael Fix
October 1, 2015

This fact sheet, drawn from recent Migration Policy Institute (MPI) research, analysis of U.S. government policies, and other sources, covers key questions such as refugee benefits use, employment, and educational attainment; the screening that would-be refugees have to go through before admission; and the likely integration picture for Syrian refugees.

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