Monday, July 04, 2016

REFUGEES - Plight and Misconceptions

"Taking on the plight of refugees — and the misperceptions" PBS NewsHour 6/30/2016


SUMMARY:  Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, says the tens of millions of refugees around the world should be embraced, not feared.  But she also said it's important for screening systems to be in place.  She notes that more than 800,000 refugees have been taken in by the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks and none has been involved in domestic terrorism.  Judy Woodruff sits down with Power.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now to my interview with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

She was here in Washington yesterday to speak on the plight of refugees, now a record 65 million worldwide.  I spoke with her yesterday afternoon at the State Department.

Ambassador Susan Power, thank you very much for talking with us.

SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. Ambassador to the UN:  Great to be here.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  You are calling this situation right now the greatest refugee crisis the world has known since World War II.  And yet you see this rising, enormous backlash in Europe, in the United States.  It says that a lot of people, maybe most people, don't share your view about what to do.  How do you deal with that?

SAMANTHA POWER:  Well, I think there's a lot of latent public opinion that also doesn't necessarily get airtime during presidential elections, for instance.

But there are fears.  I think those fears are stoked.  We have seen those in history at different times, whether it's on whether we let in Jewish refugees during the Second World War or Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam War.

So there's nothing new in that set of fears.  I think some of the fears are warranted.  People are wondering, could ISIL potentially sneak through?  And we have to answer those fears.  And I think we have by putting in place these incredibly strenuous vetting processes that have the FBI and the Center for Counterterrorism and the Department of Homeland Security at the table vetting the time it takes.

But we also need to do a better job lifting up, I think, the voices of those people who, again, aren't necessarily running for office, but who have welcomed refugees into their homes, into their communities, or giving small amounts of money, donating toys.  And I see that all over the place in going to meet with refugees around the country, is just how much generosity there is at the same time.

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