Syrian immigrant urges Americans to reconsider accepting refugee - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Syrian immigrant urges Americans to reconsider accepting refugees

(Source: CBS) (Source: CBS)

Razan Toumani is a Syrian immigrant who has lived in southern Illinois since 2010. She lives in Carbondale, Ill. with her husband Dr. Suhail Istanbouly and their son Jude. Toumani is urging Americans to reconsider their viewpoints on accepting Syrian refugees.

“When you look at the Syrian refugee problem from a human prospect -- That means the government of Illinois halted civilian innocent people fled the war, the danger, the hunger and the death from being safe, warm and simply and alive.”

Toumani holds her masters degree in media from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Toumani worked as a journalist in Syria. She said the Syrian people have suffered just as much if not more than American’s and the French.

She said there are thousands of Syrians who are working and are active in the American community and uses the small Syrian community in Southern Illinois as an example. She said most Syrians sympathize with victims and families the attacks in France and before that.

“But Syrians also have the right to live and dream,” Toumani said. “I believe that regular people feel and remember their pain but extraordinary people feel other people pain that is what we hope from the American people and leaders.

Days after the terror attacks in Paris, France that claimed 129 lives, governors across the U.S. are saying "no" to Syrian refugees entering their states.  

But those policies may not hold because immigration experts say the policies are a violation of the Refugee Act of 1980, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner joined the more than a dozen governors enacting those policies on Monday. Rauner was blasted for his move by activist groups in Chicago.

The issue is polarizing political leaders and those living in the United States.

Brad Defreitas is a law student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He says Americans should welcome Syrian refugees.

"I really do think we should help," Defreitas said. "I mean I understand the attacks in Paris you know they're shedding a light on the refugees that's pretty negative but there are so many that need help that it's...Like I think it's a very select few that are causing all the problems."

But SIUC aviation student and former active duty U.S. Marine Jordan Robin says America should be more cautious.

"To go so far to make it our responsibility to save or harbor them I think we have a lot of our own problems we need to worry about," Robin said.

“We understand your security and care about keeping the U.S. safe and peaceful, but Syrians also have the right to live and dream,” Toumani said. “We ask you and ask all the Americans and the opinion makers everywhere not to generalize their idea about the Syrians or Arabs.”

Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, it's estimated that some 9 million people have been forced to flee their homes, according to a Syrian Refugee advocacy website.

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