Survey Finds Most People Want to Welcome Refugees

Amnesty International released a poll today documenting people’s attitudes in 27 different countries towards welcoming refugees. Encouragingly, the vast majority want their countries to accept refugees.

In the United States, 63 percent of respondents believe the government should do more to protect refugees fleeing war or persecution. Seventy-two percent believe refugees should be able to come to the United States. Many would even be willing to welcome refugees into their own homes—15 percent.

Many countries in Europe had even higher support for refugees, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain. This data belies the harmful rhetoric from far-right groups in Europe and some U.S. state governors that paint refugees as a security threat. On the contrary, refugees are assets to their communities. And when the United States resettles refugees, it actually advances our national security interests by providing support to heavily-burdened allies and counteracting extremist propaganda, as detailed in our recent report. Furthermore, refugees undergo extensive security screening and are the most vetted group allowed to come to the United States.

Thanks to Amnesty’s study, it looks like welcoming refugees is a much more popular position than the vocal minority would indicate. The American public would be well served if we stopped debating whether we should protect refugees, but stepped up our efforts to do it.

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Published on May 20, 2016

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