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Letters: Sharp disagreement on refugees

Newly arrived Syrian Kurdish refugees walk with their

Newly arrived Syrian Kurdish refugees walk with their belongings after crossing into Turkey from the Syrian border town of Kobani on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, near the southeastern town of Suruc, Turkey. Credit: Getty Images

This is sheer madness! ["U.S. says it will take 10,000 Syrian refugees," News, Sept. 11]

Allowing this migration is taking a risk of monumental proportions. There might be a potential terrorist in that group. How extensive will the background checks be for each individual?

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), in a subsequent article, was quoted saying that the federal government doesn't have the means for such a massive background check ["King doubtful on refugee screening," News, Sept. 12].

It should be noted that this refugee problem was spawned by the abject failure of the Obama administration's foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically in Syria. All one heard from President Barack Obama was a lot of rhetoric and saber rattling, but no proactive, decisive action to depose Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Obama should prevail on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, etc., to take these refugees. That's where they belong, not on our shores!

Stanley L. Ronell, Port Washington

"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-tost to me."

These words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty have inspired millions of immigrants who've come to America's shores in search of liberty and opportunity. I was therefore quite pleased when I read that the United States will accept 10,000 refugees from war-torn Syria.

I reflected on the events of May 27, 1939, when the SS St. Louis, a ship carrying 937 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution, left Hamburg, bound for Havana. When they arrived, they weren't allowed to disembark.

When the passengers appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be allowed to land in the United States, they were again turned away. The St. Louis was forced to return to Europe, where two-thirds of the passengers were killed in the Holocaust.

Our great nation must never again close its doors to people who are suffering in distant lands.

Howard Chustek, Fresh Meadows

Editor's note: The writer is a retired social studies teacher.