Refugees will do more good than harm in W.Va.

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More than half of all the state governors in the United States have expressed their wish to deny Syrian refugees access to their respective states. Much to their dismay, governors actually have no power to block refugees.

While West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin hasn’t expressed an opinion on the matter, many who live here have and an overwhelming amount are against allowing refugees.

There is no logic behind the racist thought that in welcoming the refugees we are putting ourselves at risk of an ISIS attack. That notion has nothing to back it up; no refugee admitted into the United States has ever killed an American citizen.

In fact, welcoming and embracing Syrian refugees into the Mountain State has its advantages.

West Virginia is losing population faster than any other state in the United States; according to the U.S. census, it lost 0.2 percent of its population last year, a drop of 3300 individuals.

Integrating Syrian refugees into West Virginia communities has the potential to help the state in this aspect. The economy can’t grow with a dwindling population and refugees are just as willing to work and be involved in the community as anyone else is; all they are seeking is safety from a war-torn country.

Syrians are not poor people trying to take up welfare. They are skilled, have college degrees and on average have income on par with American middle class citizens.

That shouldn’t matter, though. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty reads “Give me your tired, your poor, /Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, /Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,/I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” from poet Emma Lazarus. If your skin is white, your ancestors were migrants, refugees or asylees trying to make a better life for themselves.

We as Americans have been given an opportunity to give what we have received, and we should be willing to pay it forward to those in need. At some point in our ancestry, (except for Native Americans) we were all immigrants.

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