Iraqi (Yazidi) refugee girl with her family at Newroz camp in the Al-Hassakah province, northeastern Syria (August 2014), where 12,000 were being helped by the International Rescue Committee [Flickr / CC BY 2.0 license]
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Bring the refugees in by the multiple thousands (I put up a paper on my blog five years ago about immigrants — even illegal ones — citing Church statements on compassionate treatment), but they must be vetted, just as immigrants have always been. If they can’t produce any past record, they shouldn’t be allowed: particularly in these present heightened alert circumstances. We already know that some of the terrorists in France exploited the refugee situation or the immigration process. This concern is not merely speculation or irrational fear or prejudice.
If people think vetting and checking documentation is so terrible, why don’t they also go after Ellis Island and the old (highly idealized) days of mass immigration, where this was always done? Everyone can cite stories of their ancestors coming through Ellis Island (some of mine came through Canada, just a few miles from where I sit, where my dad was from). What we never hear about, however, are how many were refused entrance. It was relatively few, but of course, this is what we are saying now: only a few should be disallowed. Of 12 million who came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954, about 2% were deemed unfit and now allowed into the country. You know how many people that is? 240,000 (about the population of Madison, Wisconsin).
And we didn’t have the terrorist threats then that we face today. The biggest thing then was the anarchists, which was a pretty tiny movement. People were fleeing the Communists or Nazis, just as today they are fleeing Assad or ISIS. So most of them were perfectly innocent. But clearly, some anarchists or Communists or Nazis could and would have sought to infiltrate the huddled masses. We turned away 240,000. Today there is talk of perhaps 100,000 Syrian refugees coming here. If we turned back 2% of them, that would be 2,000 people, and 98,000 still let in.Now, who in their right mind would oppose such a vetting system? Are we so far gone in our thinking today that we must let in all 100,000, casting all legitimate concerns to the wind, under the guise of “compassion”?
We’re not supposed to check anyone or anything? That would appear to be the case among the liberal (or I would call, naive) mindset, since anyone who utters a peep about possible terrorist infiltration is immediately pegged and derided as a paranoid, conspiratorial anti-Muslim bigot and fear-monger.No one can come after me with this nonsense and make out that I’m some kind of bigot. I live in metro Detroit, where we have more Muslims than anywhere in the US. I lived in Dearborn, where they are concentrated, for three years, and have lived near that city my entire life. I have had Muslim co-workers and car mechanics and have Muslim and Christian Arab friends (so do my three sons, who hang around Dearborn all the time for either work, youth groups, church, or fun activities with friends). I think they’re great. I’m no bigot! I’m no fearmonger! I detest those things.
And if people want to get on the racist paranoid bandwagon (the other nonsense presently occurring in our culture) I can also talk about growing up in inner-city Detroit and going to Cass Tech in downtown Detroit, which was 80% African-American when I went there. I love historic black culture, too; always have. It has immeasurably enriched America (and now the Catholic Church, since the Church in Africa is flourishing and orthodox and morally traditional). I’m no more racist than I am “anti-Muslim” — and heaven help anyone who wants to try to force me into that box because they can’t figure out how to (or refuse to) correctly think and analyze and want to judge at the drop of a hat.
Why don’t the people who want unlimited acceptance of Syrian refugees also attack the whole passport system, or ID badges at thousands of workplaces (including the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and the CIA and FBI), or voter registration? Why not (if we want to “reason” this way) ignore or overturn every border station where questions are asked, and background factors are considered? Why not be consistent about this thing?
This is not about sweet three-year-old girls with big, adorable eyes, without a home (despite what Obama and the liberal playbook and spin say, for crass political gain purposes). It’s about terrorist infiltration of these refugees, to gain easy access to the US. Experts in every intelligence agency here all agree that ISIS will infiltrate in such a manner.
Indeed, anyone who thinks about it for a millisecond will see that this is almost a certainty. Have we lost all common sense in our PC culture? Are we now so “PC” that we don’t care even if there is a real risk of innocent lives being lost because we are so careless about who we let into our country?
We already have half the country (liberals) not giving a damn about [SOME] unsavory [illegal] immigrants coming into our southern borders. We have “sanctuary cities” whose very purpose is to oppose even existing immigration laws: a brazen anarchical farce, that thumbs its nose at the rule of law.
We can still be humanitarian, by offering resources for food and shelter (as we always have), while we figure out a sensible solution to the refugee crisis. We can put these poor people up in some halfway decent facilities, paid for by our generosity, if needs be; proceed to methodically check out their backgrounds, and if they are fine, let them come here.
This is not an either/or situation. It’s not “totally uncontrolled [including illegal] immigration” vs “evil nativist conservative bigots and fear-mongers” who oppose all immigration, legal or illegal.
That is not the case. Most of us who have legitimate concerns are quite as compassionate as the bleeding-heart liberals. I submit that we are more compassionate about innocent lives, because we not only care about the refugees (99% of which are likely harmless), but also about potential victims of terrorists who are exploiting the sad situation to come here and kill more people for the great Satanic jihadist cause.
I could also mention in passing (but I won’t) preborn children, whom most liberals now allow (minus any protest or expressed concern) to be mercilessly slaughtered, while condescendingly lecturing us about compassion and concern for the little guy and the downtrodden. I will never forget the little ones: especially when being lectured about compassion. I’ll bring it up every time. I know so-called “pro-choice” people hate that and loudly protest that it’s an unsavory single-issue matter. I don’t care. I hate how human beings are murdered day in and day out. So live with it: those of you who willfully ignore those lives.
There is a sensible middle here on the refugee crisis, that is quite consistent with Catholic teaching and traditional (and singular) American compassion and willingness to take in the “huddled masses”, and also legitimate vigilance in order to avoid terrorist tragedies in America.
This is not a trivial matter for politicians (or liberal polemicists) to spin and gain cheap points over, nor for conservatives (ans wacko extremists who claim to be the same or are put into that category) to use to exploit fears about Muslims and to play the stupid game of equating all Muslims with bloodthirsty, child-raping jihadi terrorists.
This is a serious business, and we better get past our petty partisan politics and fears and derision towards others of different viewpoints and act intelligently. We can do that if we think and care and not merely react to polemics from those who have an agenda (on the left or right) that just doesn’t add up.
The large middle ground where a great majority of Americans (and Catholics) can join together and agree, is this: accept legal immigrants and/or those whose backgrounds show that they mean us no harm. Do not accept illegals and those whose backgrounds cant be checked or which are questionable.
One last thing, since I’ve already ruffled plenty of feathers (which I never care about in the slightest if I firmly believe something must be said): people on the liberal end of the spectrum always seem to want to merely “put Band-Aids” on problems, rather than eliminate them by attacking them at the root cause. The root cause today is terrorists and particularly ISIS terrorists, who are bent on conquest and the destruction of the innocent lives of Christians and anyone else (including many millions of Muslims) who oppose them.
Help refugees and those suffering as a result? Absolutely; we conservatives and Catholics are right along with liberals in that goal, and we are no less compassionate than they are (and are always proclaiming themselves to be, as if they monopolize humane concern). But what caused this problem in the first place? Why not eliminate the cause, so that the overall tragedy can come to an end? Wouldn’t that make sense, too?
I’ve been on record for two years now, in favor of bombing these wicked monsters to hell: annihilating them: that is, the evil soldiers who go around murdering and raping and selling girls into slavery and beheading and crucifying Christians; not civilians. We can easily do it. We have the smart bombs and surveillance and intelligence and overall military capacity. We have the special forces. We have the readiness, willingness, and ability in our military. They are no match for us.
We’re in a Chamberlain-Hitler scenario, but even scarier, because these monsters are as ruthless than the Nazis, and additionally, they have, or will have far more powerful weapons, including, quite possibly (in a world that will soon have a nuclear Iran, due to Obama’s ultra-left antics) atomic weapons. President Obama is, of course, Neville Chamberlain, and ISIS is the Nazis. Standard liberal policy and outlook is appeasement. There were plenty of naive fools regarding the Nazis (that Winston Churchill warned about all through the 30s). Gandhi, for example, stated that “Hitler is not a bad man” and urged peaceful nonresistance, apparently thinking that this would shame Hitler into good behavior. Obviously, we had to utterly defeat the Nazis.
That was the existential threat to the world 75 years ago. Likewise, today, we have to utterly defeat ISIS. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be, and many more thousands will die as a result of our stupidity, cowardice, and appeasement. So we need to go and defeat them ASAP, and thereby eliminate the problem that is (largely) causing the refugees and the terrorist acts.
That is more compassionate, because it saves exponentially many more lives of innocent people. When will we ever learn from history? It’s so absolutely frustrating. This ain’t rocket science. The problem won’t “dry up” and go away by means of our putting our heads in the sand and throwing Frisbees and singing Kumbaya.
Once again,”hawks” and wascally wascal “warmongers” like myself are routinely slandered as lacking in compassion and wanting to slaughter women and children; in fact, the exact opposite is true. I advocate military action against combatants only, precisely so women and children and anyone else (and civilization) can be saved from these wicked and evil monsters. It is the Obama / liberal appeasement policy that largely caused the present situation (including Obama’s lack of action regarding Assad, which is another issue, and almost complete withdrawal from Iraq), perpetuates it, and makes it worse, day by day.
No one need take my word on that. Just watch the news every day, for as long as our present utter lack of a strategy to defeat ISIS and virtual inaction maintain sway (which is likely all the way till January 2017). I think, over time (and not very long from now, as more terrorist incidents occur), you will come to my position, if you don’t share it now.