Don't Fear Refugees

Why They Pose Little Threat to National Security

A migrant woman pulls a girl out of the water as refugees and migrants arrive on an overcrowded dinghy in rough sea on the Greek island of Lesbos, October, 2015. Dimitris Michalakis / Reuters

After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, hostility toward refugees in many Western countries has surged. Last week, France’s anti-immigration National Front, already popular before the attacks in Paris, achieved its best ever results in the first round of regional elections, winning almost a third of the vote. In the United States, meanwhile, 31 governors and almost all the Republican presidential candidates oppose further refugee settlement in the United States.

Fear of refugees following a terrorist attack is a natural reaction, and some confusion over the connection between refugees and violence is understandable. Even the academic community, which has studied the topic for years, has yet to settle on an understanding of the relationship between the two.

But making efforts to block people fleeing to the West from war zones is the wrong response to the horrors of Paris. The latest evidence suggests that the connection between refugees and terrorism

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