By Natasha Sewell

It has become common knowledge that on Nov. 13, 2015 Paris was devastated by terrorist attacks that killed and injured hundreds of people. Members of ISIS, a well-known terrorist group, have claimed responsibility for the attacks and mentioned they have hidden a few of their members within groups of Syrian refugees.

Naturally, this has sent many countries into panic mode including the United States of America. President Obama is urging us, American citizens, to have courage and to accept the refugees into America. Half of America’s governors have written to the White House stating they will not allow refugees to enter their states and sadly Kentucky is one of them. Just recently the House of Representatives passed a bill that suspended America’s acceptance of the refugees until higher screening methods are put in place.

This is absolutely ridiculous. There are thousands upon thousands of innocent people leaving the only home they have ever known in an attempt to find safety and peace for their family. It is unacceptable that America can have a statue stating we will accept the tired and poor only to turn away thousands of innocent people because we are scared. Those people have no home to go back to. Their home is a war zone and they had little choice, but to leave. They are risking their lives in hopes of a better future for themselves and their families. A little boy was found on a beach dead because his family was trying to escape the horrors of war in Syria.

America was supposed to accept over 8,000 refugees, many of which are children. The fact that the states are sending letters to the White House stating their refusal to accept these people because of something a select group of people did, is disappointing and is a slap in the face for what the Statue of Liberty stands for, for what America stands for. What happened in Paris was a great tragedy and it is understandable that people are experiencing fear that it may come to their country. However, ISIS was perfectly aware countries were accepting the Syrian refugees and it is no surprise a group that thrives on fear and bloodshed would say something to prevent innocent people from finding peace.

ISIS is winning. They are winning because America is succumbing to the fear of being attacked and turning away people who are looking for the shelter they need, and we are basically sentencing them to die. Turning these people away will not keep us safe, if anything it will make America look weak. We need to stand strong as a nation by shutting our doors and hiding.

We need to let these innocent war-weary people know there is hope in this world and there is a place where they can raise their children safely. America needs to accept the Syrian refugees that it promised to shelter and the states need to support that decision. We cannot let ISIS win. We cannot let these men, women and children be turned away.