HUFFINGTON POST
11/20/2015 03:38 pm ET

These Famous People Were Refugees

As the Syrian refugee debate rages on, it's humbling to remember some of the refugees who went on to make this country -- and others -- great.

Is history repeating itself?

In 1938, a Fortune magazine poll found that two-thirds of Americans believed that we should close our borders to political refugees from Germany, Austria and other countries, many of whom were Jewish, according to The Washington Post.

In 2015, the United States is struggling with the same refugee question after a terrorist massacre in Paris last week raised fears that Islamic State extremists might pose as refugees to come to the U.S. from Iraq and Syria. CNN reports that 53 percent of American adults don't want Syrian refugees coming to the U.S., and only 28 percent believe President Barack Obama should move forward with a plan to bring 10,000 refugees overseas.

As the debate rages on, it's humbling to remember some of the refugees who went on to make this country -- and others -- great. Here are some famous refugees from over the years:

  • M.I.A.
    Grammy winning rapper/musician Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/1
    Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images
    Grammy winning rapper/musician Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A, first left Sri Lanka as a refugee from an ongoing civil war when she was 9, and moved to a housing project in London.
  • Sigmund Freud
    The founder of psychoanalysis, <a href="http://iht-retrospective.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/23/1939-sigmund-freud-psychoanalys
    Universal History Archive via Getty Images
    The founder of psychoanalysis, Freud had to flee to London at 83, after having lived in Austria for 79 years, when Hitler's army invaded Austria, proclaiming union with Germany.
  • Gloria Estefan
    Born in Cuba, the pop icon <a href="http://www.ew.com/article/1993/07/30/gloria-estefan-leaving-cuba">fled with her family to
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Born in Cuba, the pop icon fled with her family to Miami during the Cuban Revolution.
  • Albert Einstein
    In 1933, Einstein, a prominent German scientist, was accused of treason by the Third Reich. <a href="http://borgenproject.org
    In 1933, Einstein, a prominent German scientist, was accused of treason by the Third Reich. He then sought refuge in the United States.
  • Henry Kissinger
    A German-born American diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize winner and the secretary of state in the Nixon administration, Kissinger <
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A German-born American diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize winner and the secretary of state in the Nixon administration, Kissinger moved to New York with his family in 1938 after fleeing Nazi persecution.
  • Anne Frank
    Anne and her family <a href="http://www.annefrank.org/">moved to Amsterdam in 1933</a> after the Nazis gained power in German
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Anne and her family moved to Amsterdam in 1933 after the Nazis gained power in Germany, and were trapped by the occupation of the Netherlands, which began in 1940.She and her family also sought money to secure a visa into the U.S. That visa was eventually denied, and led to the family going into hiding.
  • Karl Marx
    The famous philosopher was <a href="http://refugeeweek.org.uk/info-centre/famous-refugees/">expelled from Paris at the end of
    PA/PA Wire
    The famous philosopher was expelled from Paris at the end of 1844. He moved to Brussels, where he was permitted greater freedom of expression than in any other European state.
  • Madeleine Albright
    Albright was a refugee whose family <a href="http://www.unhcr-centraleurope.org/en/about-us/unhcr-people/prominent-refugees.h
    Van Tine Dennis/ABACA USA
    Albright was a refugee whose family fled Czechoslovakia, first from the Nazis and later from the Communists. Albright went on to become the 64th U.S. secretary of state in 1997 after unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate. She was also the first female secretary of state.
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