Segments in this Video

Introduction: Syrian Refugee Debate (03:50)


Moderator John Donvan welcomes Intelligence Squared chair Robert Rosenkranz. They discuss the ongoing tension between providing shelter for those fleeing war zones and protecting U.S. national security from terrorism. With an insurance and economic background, Rosenkranz looks at risk, statistics and efficiency related to admitting 100,000 Syrian refugees.

Debate "Housekeeping" (07:28)

Donvan states the motion, explains the debate format, and introduces panelists for each side.

For the Motion: David Miliband (07:30)

Former U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and current International Rescue Committee president, Miliband makes moral, practical, and smart arguments for admitting 100,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. He says that the U.S. has a more effective resettlement program than Europe, and to admit refugees would keep the U.S. a beacon of hope and tolerance— countering ISIS ideology.

Against the Motion: David Frum (07:36)

Atlantic Senior Editor and Policy Exchange Board of Trustees Chairman, Frum cites statistics of European victims of migrant attack. He argues that the U.S. should not accept mass resettlement from the Middle East because of high taxpayer costs, unbridgeable cultural gaps, second generation radicalization risks, and undue hardship to refugees themselves.

For the Motion: John Ford (07:37)

Middle East Institute Senior Fellow and former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Ford argues that the Syrian conflict is an abnormal situation, and the U.S. should exercise global leadership in admitting refugees. The U.S. process of screening and admitting refugees is more thorough and secure than in Europe. The Islamic State wants the U.S. to reject refugees, to strengthen its recruitment campaign against the Christian West. He points out that Syria is a sophisticated, orderly culture.

Against the Motion: Jessica Vaughn (07:50)

Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, Vaughn argues that accepting 100,000 Syrian refugees is a security risk and a financial burden. U.S. agencies are overwhelmed; terrorists are infiltrating refugee groups and outwitting intelligence screening programs. Refugees are resettled in poorer U.S. communities with high unemployment.

ISIS Propaganda (07:51)

David Miliband says not accepting Syrian refugees would play into jihadist narrative blaming Christians and Jews for Muslim suffering. David Frum says ISIS already uses Western culture for their recruitment and Jessica Vaughn says the U.S. government should protect national security interests.

Refugee Screening Process (10:22)

Jessica Vaughn explains that there is no way to check refugee references with the Syrian government. Locally sourced U.N. employees conduct interviews with prospective applicants. Robert Ford states that the U.S. government decides who enters the U.S., overseen by intelligence agencies. David Miliband explains biometrics tools and says the onus is on refugees to prove they are not a threat.

Integrating Refugees (05:50)

David Frum states that children of refugees have become terrorists. David Miliband says his program has found employment for 80% of Syrian refugees. David Frum argues for selecting the urban, educated elite; most Syrians should be resettled close to home which is cheaper and safer for U.S. taxpayers.

QA: Give Me Your Poor? (04:04)

An audience member asks why only skilled Syrians should be admitted to the U.S. Robert Ford says most Syrians are educated, and argues for resettling refugees of diverse education and skill levels. Jessica Vaughn argues for a more cost effective strategy by providing assistance to refugees in the region.

QA: A Xenophobic America? (02:46)

An audience member points out that most terror attacks in the U.S. are committed by non-Muslims. David Frum argues that statistically, Muslim refugees now pose a greater security threat than non-Muslims. David Miliband says U.S. integration programs are successful in overcoming religious and cultural boundaries, and Europe should adopt similar policies.

QA: Second Generation "Problems" (05:13)

A Muslim American audience member asks David Frum to substantiate his claim that children of refugees turn to crime or terrorism. Frum argues that the U.S. policy of selecting educated refugees from the Middle East has so far led to successful integration and prevented this situation. Robert Ford says most Syrian refugees are women and children, and argues that unemployment among refugee communities results from larger economic forces.

QA: Fight against Domestic Poverty (07:03)

David Miliband argues that the U.S. should deal with its social problems while continuing to shelter refugees. Jessica Vaughn says that refugees are resettled in low income communities, and there is no increase in federal grants to offset costs. Robert Ford says the alternative is to increase aid to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey— countries that do not want refugees.

Argument Summaries (03:47)

Frum and Vaughn argue that admitting 100,000 Syrian refugees would be a national security risk and cost too much. High unemployment among Somali refugees shows mixed resettlement results. Miliband and Ford argue that America should uphold values of freedom and opportunity and fight ISIS ideology by continuing to bring refugees from Syria in a safe, secure, and cost effective process.

Concluding Statement For: David Miliband (02:37)

Miliband makes a humanitarian argument for letting in 100,000 Syrian refugees. He says no Syrian refugee has been arrested on terrorism charges, and to vote against the motion would increase divisions of hatred and fear.

Concluding Statement Against: David Frum (02:20)

Frum argues that U.S. funding would be better spent resettling Syrian refugees in the Middle East. He says Syrian refugees may become delinquent or unemployed, like Somalian refugees, and urges viewers to use reason to vote against the motion.

Concluding Statement For: Robert Ford (02:33)

Ford differentiates the refugee crisis in Germany from the U.S. situation. The U.S. should take leadership in resettling refugees worldwide. Refugees coming to the U.S. become less dependent on public assistance over time.

Concluding Statement Against: Jessica Vaughn (02:31)

Vaughn argues that U.S. dollars would be better spent on foreign aid to help the U.N. help Syrians in Syria, and urges viewers to vote against bringing 100,000 refugees to the U.S.

Time to Vote (04:47)

Donvan thanks panelists, instructs audience members to vote, and outlines upcoming Intelligence Squared debates.

Audience Vote Results (01:08)

Pre-debate For: 52% - Against: 12% - Undecided: 36% Post-debate For: 72% - Against: 21% - Undecided: 7%

Credits: The U.S. Should Let in 100,000 Syrian Refugees: A Debate (00:49)

Credits: The U.S. Should Let in 100,000 Syrian Refugees: A Debate

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Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II (1939–45). Most have fled to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, but many have risked death to reach Europe and the possibility of a better life. Unlike Europe and Syria’s neighbors, the United States has had the advantage of picking and choosing from afar, taking in just over 2,000 Syrian refugees since the war’s start. The Obama administration pledged to take another 10,000 refugees in 2016, but some believe that the United States should accept far more, as many as 100,000. America has a moral obligation, they argue, to provide refuge to people fleeing war, persecution, and danger. But opponents argue that accepting so many refugees could threaten national security and cause economic and social problems. Should the United States let in 100,000 Syrian refugees?

Length: 106 minutes

Item#: BVL116094

ISBN: 978-1-63521-180-1

Copyright date: ©2016

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