POLITICS
11/16/2015 06:41 pm ET | Updated Nov 18, 2015

Look At These Photos Before You Say We Can't Take In Syrian Refugees

If we close our borders to Syrians, this is what we're leaving them to face.

DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images

French authorities are still piecing together information about the terrorist operation that killed at least 129 and wounded hundreds more in Paris last week, but on Monday, a number of American politicians said they'd heard enough to make one immediate conclusion: There's no place for Syrian refugees in the U.S.

The Islamic State claimed credit for the Friday attacks, and a Syrian passport found near one of the suicide bombers sparked concern that the group might be exploiting the migrant crisis to sneak extremists into Western countries. It's still not clear if the document legitimately belonged to the attacker, was stolen or was forged, but conservative politicians in both Europe and the U.S. were quick to push the idea that accepting more Syrian refugees would serve as an invitation to Islamic militants.

Citing those fears in a speech shortly after the attacks, French President Francois Hollande announced he was closing the nation's borders for the first time since World War II. A number of Republican governors on Monday said they'd follow suit, at least concerning Syrians, announcing that refugees from the Middle Eastern nation wouldn't be welcome in their states. GOP presidential candidates weren't far behind, suggesting the U.S. should block entry to Syrians.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than 4 million Syrians have fled their country, seeking safety from a punishing civil war and a brutal Islamic State campaign. Those who have survived are left to scrape by, often in refugee camps in a neighboring country like Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq or Turkey. With limited prospects for work, however, it has been nearly impossible for them to put down roots. Others have pushed on toward Europe, hoping for better opportunities.

Of the millions of Syrian refugees, the U.S. has agreed to take in just 10,000. President Barack Obama made it clear on Monday that he was still committed to that plan, which requires each candidate to undergo a security screening that typically takes 18 to 24 months. It may be difficult for congressional lawmakers or governors to override the president on this priority, but the message they are sending is clear: In their time of greatest need, many Americans have no problem turning their backs on the Syrian people.

This is what we're leaving them to face:

  • Etienne De Malglaive via Getty Images
    A man is helping out a baby as refugees from Afghanistan and Syria disembark from in a life boat on the shores of Lesbos near Skala Sikaminias, Greece on Nov. 10, 2015. Lesbos, the Greek vacation island in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, faces massive refugee flows from the Middle East countries. 
  • JOEL SAGET via Getty Images
    A general view of a make-shift camp set up by mainly Syrian refugees at the Porte de Saint-Ouen in Paris, early on Oct. 2, 2015.
  • STR via Getty Images
    Lebanese forces walk at a burnt unofficial Syrian refugee camp in the Al-Marj area of Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, after a fire ripped through it on June 1, 2015, killing a baby and injuring several others.
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    A sick refugee is pulled while walking and waiting for a chance to cross the Serbian-Croatian border at the refugee camp of Bapska.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A man rests as he waits with other migrants and refugees at a registration camp after crossing the Greece-Macedonia border near Gevgelija on Nov. 14, 2015.
  • ROBERT ATANASOVSKI via Getty Images
    Doctors Without Borders staff assist a young girl in a wheelchair as she enters, along with other migrants and refugees, a registration camp after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border near Gevgelija on Nov. 12, 2015.
  • NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV via Getty Images
    A Syrian woman changes her child's diaper as migrants and refugees queue at a camp to register after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border near Gevgelija on Sept. 22, 2015. 
  • PHILIPPE HUGUEN via Getty Images
    Residents sit in a French class at the "Jungle," a migrant and refugee camp in Calais, on Oct. 30, 2015.
  • BULENT KILIC via Getty Images
    Syrian migrants and refugees march along the highway toward the Turkish-Greek border at Edirne on Sept. 18, 2015.
  • PHILIPPE HUGUEN via Getty Images
    A photo taken on Nov. 5, 2015 shows the "Jungle" migrants camp in Calais.
  • PHILIPPE HUGUEN via Getty Images
    A woman stands at the entrance of a tent in a makeshift camp in Grande-Synthe, France, on Oct. 20, 2015.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Syrian refugee kids, fled from their homes due to civil war in their homeland, play in Yayladagi YIBO camp in Hatay province of Turkey, on Oct. 25, 2015. 
  • DENIS CHARLET via Getty Images
    A photo taken on Nov. 12, 2015, shows a view of part of the "New Jungle" migrant camp in Calais.
  • PHILIPPE HUGUEN via Getty Images
    Migrants walk through a mud path of the "New Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, where thousands of refugees live with the hope of crossing the Channel to the U.K., on Oct. 21, 2015.
  • Gokhan Sahin via Getty Images
    An explosion rocks Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by the militants of Islamic State group on a People's Protection Unit position in the city center of Kobani, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Oct. 20, 2014 in Sanliurfa province, Turkey.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A Syrian man walks amid destruction in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 10, 2013. 
  • BARAA AL-HALABI via Getty Images
    A man carries a young girl who was injured in a reported barrel-bomb attack by government forces on June 3, 2014, in Kallaseh district in the northern city of Aleppo.
  • Spencer Platt via Getty Images
    A displaced Syrian child in a makeshift camp for Syrian refugees only miles from the on Nov. 12, 2013, in Majdal Anjar, Lebanon, only miles from the Syrian border.
  • LOUAI BESHARA via Getty Images
    Syrian government troops sit atop a tank as they drive past a damaged building in Mleiha on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Aug. 15, 2014. 
  • AFP via Getty Images
    Syrian children search for their belongings at a school following airstrikes by Syrian government forces on Dec. 22, 2013, in the northern Syrian city of Marea on the outskirts of Aleppo.
  • AFP via Getty Images
    A Syrian man holds a crying girl as he gestures following an air strike by government forces on the Sahour neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on March 6, 2014. 
  • Ahmet Sik via Getty Images
    A boy rides his cycles in the streets of the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, Syria, on June 20, 2015.
  • GHAITH OMRAN via Getty Images
    A picture taken on Oct.14, 2014, shows a large explosion allegedly hitting a Syrian army military outpost in the southern part of the city of Maarat al-Numan in the Idlib province.
  • ZEIN AL-RIFAI via Getty Images
    Syrian girls, carrying school bags provided by UNICEF, walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7, 2015, in al-Shaar neighborhood, in the rebel-held side of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
  • YASIN AKGUL via Getty Images
    Syrian schoolchildren stand next to a pile of classroom desks as they attend school in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on March 25, 2015. 
  • AFP via Getty Images
    Men search for their relatives among the bodies of Syrian civilians executed and dumped in the Quweiq river, in the grounds of the courtyard of the Yarmouk School, in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo on Jan. 30, 2013.
  • YASIN AKGUL via Getty Images
    A Syrian Kurdish boy sits on a destroyed tank in the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on March 27, 2015. 

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