The Plight of Syrian Refugees in the United States: Between Indifference and Dehumanization

Lanouar Ben Hafsa


Forced or voluntary migration worldwide and the quest for a safer and better life has not always resulted from armed conflicts or any form of political, ethnic, or religious persecution. Natural disasters have often enticed waves of deprived people across sovereign national borders. The present study investigates the plight of Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the 2011 upheavals which shook the Arab World, not as much because it poses unprecedented humanitarian and political challenges, but principally because it laid bare the double standard policy pursued by certain Western governments scapegoating Arab/Muslim stocks as a lingering menace to their security. To reconfigure the boundaries of decent debate and break down taboos over such a controversial issue, the paper raises a number of questions with regard to the essence of humanitarian work and how, over the past few decades, it has been politicized by ruthless politicians and unscrupulous technocrats to determine the resettlement of displaced masses or the allocation of funds to international relief organizations based on national, religious, and even racial standards. It takes the United States as a case in point to show how, despite being the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, it has resettled only a tiny fraction of such a group compared to poorer contiguous states. The paper posits, finally, to contribute survey-based argument to available literature which, to some degree, has not sufficiently explored the hypothetical connection between refugee flows and transnational terrorism to demonstrate, ultimately, that not every Arab/Muslim refugee is a terrorist-in-waiting.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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