Syrian refugees in Hawaii


Instagram, Chaminade Athletics

These CUH students express their feelings on Syrian refugees coming to Hawaii.

By Alexis Bennett , Staff Writer

While the debate about the United States accepting Syrian refugees rages on social media and among the politicians, Chaminade students were equally split on both sides of the issue.

“What if you were in their position? We were lucky enough to be born in America,” said Mari Alvarez, student at Chaminade. “Our troubles our centering around monday struggles and they don’t know if they are going to wake up in the morning.”

“I personally don’t like that idea,” said Kennedi Akana, a senior at Chaminade. “I don’t want to label a group of people but it doesn’t help that Syrian refugees helped cause the attacks in Paris. Our islands are already over populated and allowing them to come here will make it worse.”

After the terrorist attacks killed 129 people in Paris on Nov. 13, many people in the United States started to express concern about Syrian refugees entering this country because one of the terrorists entered Europe as a refugee. He was able to enter with a fake name allowing entrance into Greece.

Since then, more than half of the nation’s governors are opposed to allowing refugees in their states.

According to Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CNN that by law a state cannot deny refugees but they can refrain from cooperating, making things more difficult.

“My opinion you cannot deny these people because really what was America founded on,” said CUH’s Alvarez. “Yes, even security checks could stop most dangerous people. We could get bombed either way. We have people in the U.S. trying to bomb us — our own citizens.”

“I think that letting Syrian refugees come to Hawaii wouldn’t be good, it could lead to another terroritst attack” Said Lilia Maio, student at Chaminade. “If its just a couple of people coming in then the overpopulation wouldn’t be affected but if its a big group then there would be more traffic on the roads and more construction.”

The first priority to Hawaii Gov. David Ige is safety, and he made it clear that all U.S.-accepted refugees would have to go through extensive security checks before entering the country. Security screenings include, involvement with National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. Also due to specific conditions,  the Syrian refugees will go through additional screenings.

“I have mixed feelings about it. It would be good to help people in danger, but at the same time it is putting us at risk,” said Carissa Webb, Student at Chaminade. “Also putting more stress on the population wouldn’t be good for the island due to space and resources.”

“With the number of mainland of mainland tourist and tourists from other countries, I think that will cause problems that Hawaii doesn’t need,” said Akana.

“However, I wouldn’t recommend bringing refugees to these islands because of the number of homeless people we have already. It’s already hard to live financially so coming from another country it would be a major adjustment,” Alvarez said.

In the last four years, just 1,500 Syrian refugees have entered the U.S., but President Obama said that 10,000 more will enter the U.S. with in the next year. Gov. Ige came out stating that the chance of Syrian refugees coming to the islands are low. In the last decade no Syrian refugees have came to Hawaii and Ige thinks that the chances are low for any refugees to be relocated to the islands.