It is disheartening to see so many people opposed to accepting Syrian refugees. These are people who face a Paris-like tragedy regularly. These are people who experience bombings, shootings, and chemical warfare; who have seen hundreds of thousands of their fellow Syrians brutally slaughtered. While security concerns are valid, the United States already has an extensive vetting process. President Obama was not wrong when he said that to reject Syrian refugees was both “shameful” and “not American.”

France announced that it would continue to accept refugees despite the Paris attacks. Since 2001, the United States has taken in 784,000 refugees and only three have been charged with plotting terrorist acts.

It is a disgrace to American values that Gov. LePage and his Republican colleagues say they won’t accept refugees.

Outside New York City stands a symbol of acceptance, hope, and liberty. There is a poem by Emma Lazarus that reads:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

“Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

“The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

“Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

“I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

We can do better. We must do better.

Jared Mummert