Remember how in 1995 President Bill Clinton said he was going to “aggressively” secure our borders, hire a record amount of border guards, crack down on hiring by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens? He also pledged to speed the deportation of illegals arrested for crimes. That was 22 years ago.
Do you remember in 2011 when President Obama banned all entrance to the United States by Iraqi refugees for six months? No? Well, you’ll certainly remember just three weeks ago that President Obama permanently banned all Cuban refugees with a flick of his pen (“wet foot, dry foot”) as one of his last actions in office. Really? That’s probably because it was hardly reported by the media. Nevertheless, it happened.
In 2017 President Obama said he would admit more than 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. (at least that is all he would admit to) within a “broken” vetting system. Hillary Clinton admitted she wanted ten times that number to enter with no delay as soon as she took office under the same conditions. President-elect Trump campaigned to ban all persons from Muslim countries until the present vetting was fixed toward a safer America. The citizens of America elected Mr. Trump to do just that.
In a widely anticipated and politically debated action, President Trump signed an Executive Order to stop all entry of persons from predominantly Muslim countries (that are known to “produce” terrorists) for 120 days until the American laws already in place for proper immigration vetting can be reviewed and restored.
“No foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or demand immigration benefits in the United States.”
Department of Homeland Security
Those are the facts.
Nicholas Kristof in a recent OP/Ed in the New York Times said “President Obama’s reluctance to do more to try to end the slaughter in Syria casts a shadow on his legacy, and there’s simply no excuse for the world’s collective failure to ensure that Syrian refugee children in neighboring countries at least get schooling”. The editorial drew a hard parallel from our current refugee crisis to the anti-refugee hysteria of the 1930’s and 1940’s during World War II. Kristof said that “Fears of terrorism have left Muslim refugees toxic in the West”. He offered that back then (as now) “the obstacle was an American wariness toward (Jewish) refugees that outweighed sympathy”. He even went as far as to say that “Today, to our shame, Anne Frank is a Syrian girl.”
Kristof’s argument and examples would certainly be more compelling if the cause of the current refugee situation in America was, as he alluded, of the magnitude the six million Holocaust victims endured at the hands of the “world’s collective failure”. It is not. Even now, critics abroad (like Kristof in America), have encouraged their governments to do more to assist the beleaguered Syrians fleeing their country through the Middle East, North Africa en route to Europe. The world is watching and cares deeply.
In September 2016, Angela Merkel admits she “lost control” of Germany’s refugee influx due to her open border policy, just falling short of apologizing for “doing what is morally and obliged”. In July 2016, the UK pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrians by 2020 with a separate commitment to resettle thousands of unaccompanied children “which the Government has rightly made”. Greece has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants pass through its borders, yet few apply for asylum in the country. Turkey houses between two and three million Syrians, the majority living in resettlement camps. Sweden has granted 38,000 asylum seekers permanent residency. Canada has already resettled upwards of 31,000, with France taking in approximately 30,000 for resettlement “consideration”.
Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Armenia have each accepted thousands of migrants to which most have blood relatives in the area. Israel, however, has refused to admit any Muslims because of specific threats from radical Muslims “to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.” This is hardly a false and unsubstantiated fear, yet Israel continues be excoriated by the global narrative for putting Israelis before all others.
For example, Bibi Netanyahu erected two walls, much to the consternation of the world and praise from his countrymen. The result was terrorist attacks in Israel went from 135 in one year to just nine the next…a 93% reduction. After an all-time high of 17,298 migrants apprehended in 2011, and after the walls were completed in 2012, just 36 would-be terrorists were caught in 2013—a 99.8% reduction!
America is a nation of immigrants, always has been. Immigrants made this country what it is today. Kristof condemns America’s resistance to blindly open its borders comparable to xenophobic media organizations that don’t do enough to “humanize refugees”. I am certainly not supportive of our current biased media, but that was then and this is now. There are many communities unhappy and unwilling to accept the refugees thrust upon them, but with good reason.
Keep in mind that Islam is the third largest religion in the United States after Christianity. Once upon a time slaves from Africa were Muslim. Muslim Americans have lived in harmony and peace with Christians and Jews for centuries in America. Like most cultures, “bad apples” exist to consolidate egalitarian power. All Muslims should not be condemned for the portion of the Muslim population that has become radicalized and seeks to impose their brand of Islam on others.
Any perceived American resistance to Syrian refugees comes from radical Muslims that are creating Muslim states within states in the U.S. Those specific neighborhoods speak only Arabic and militantly enforce “Arab Only” inhabitants. They have been proven to nurture and protect radical jihadists hell-bent in destroying infidels (if you aren’t Muslim, you are an infidel). These isolated “enclaves” are designated no-go zones by law enforcement (the French have “sensitive urban zones”) for the safety of the citizenry at large based solely on known conflicts with practiced Islamic rules and Sharia law within the American culture.
Most countries require a visa for lawful entry. Visa requirements may vary from country to country but have common, generally reasonable expectations of everyone seeking entry. You will need a valid passport or traveling documents. You must complete a proper visa application and show proof of payment of the consular fee. The Visa system is not set up to keep people out.
Having a criminal record in your country of origin may be grounds for denial of a Visa, as would a violation of a prior visa (stayed longer, worked under a student/tourist visa, etc.). In America, any fraudulent attempt to secure a visa will likely result in a ban from reapplying forever (or for at least seven years) or possible prosecution and jail time. In some countries, any kind of violation will land you in a “less than cushy” prison, or literally shot on sight for trying to enter that country illegally. America is well known for its more relaxed, easy to enter requirements.
“As of late Saturday night (01-28-2017), 109 people had been denied entry into the United States. All had been in transit. It was reported that 173 people had not been allowed to board planes at foreign airports. It has also been noted that those individuals detained in U.S. airports were treated with respect, kindness and some offered food in the Customs Areas. Those detained were suffering the effects of traveling when the ban went into effect. When released, the detainees went through the doors and were greeted with hundreds of protesters chanting and encouraging them to “Go see the lawyers! Go see the lawyers!”
Official at Dulles Airport, Virginia
Clearly, not everyone who comes to our country comes properly vetted, meaning “is investigated and held to a legal standard” that is in place to protect the citizens of the United States. Refugees have entered our country with no papers, no money, no sponsorship and no intent to become citizens. The Syrian refugee crisis, like many of the other acts of unspeakable acts of violence that America deals with daily, is a true humanitarian crisis. Most Americans accept that there are exceptions to some rules, but as in most exceptions, there is a limit of tolerance.
Not everyone who seeks asylum wants to assimilate into our culture, use our language or adhere to the same rules and regulations Americans are held to. Large groups of refugees, migrants and others purposely and unlawfully currently impose their own legal and religious mandates on their adopted American communities, restricting freedoms that we, as Americans, constitute as our American way of life.
One such radical Muslim ideology in America (known to be receiving funding from The United Arab Emirates to build mosques and schools with the stated intent to install establish social welfare institutions in America) is As Sabiqun, headed by AIman Abdul Alim Musa. Its members call on all Muslims to wage jihad until Sharia law is in place around the globe. Hardly sounds neighborly or American, does it?
The UN Refugee Agency loudly condemns President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration by saying “The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the US resettlement program is one of the most important in the world”. Really? During the recent political season the government and media has purposely kept her citizenry woefully in the dark about the width and breadth of the commitment made on our behalf to the global collective. Entire communities of refugees just showed up on our doorsteps without prior notice or fanfare, sometimes in the dark of night. Special identification cards were issued, free medical assistance provided, and good housing was assigned for folks who arrived with nothing at all. Most of the refugees were met with extreme kindness and additional offers of assistance by their new communities. Based on the subterfuge surrounding their arrival, some were met with suspicion and anger. What was the reasoning behind all the secrecy? Why hasn’t the media covered the collective Syrian refugee assimilation into American culture— or lack thereof? Although the answer seems obvious to me, persons like Kristof and others have a difference of opinion. I can respect that while respectfully disagreeing with them.
Based on the written and experiential facts, there is no “global” indifference, callous fear of refugees, or loss of humanity the kind of which Kristof implies, certainly not widespread in The United States. The political excuses used in the 1930-40’s (“We can’t afford it, we can’t accept everybody, they’ll take American jobs” etc.) do however, have a distinct, historic ring of truth based on fact. In the light of day, reality, is even more terrifying.
Military veterans are living on the streets without adequate medical care. Countless Americans are living in cars and homeless shelters. Entire families are out of work, struggling to survive. American children are going hungry. Schools are over-crowded and lack necessary supplies. Housing is expensive and scarce. Once thriving businesses are forced to close because of government regulations and mandates. Religious oppression, intolerance, racism, bigotry and political egalitarianism exist in the United States as well!
A Trump official told CNN that the administration will be “very aggressive”, not take risks but will do what it takes to keep America safe. There have been no surprises thus far in the new administration. From his first day in office President Trump has been all about satisfying his clear campaign promises. The big question remains whether or not restricting visas at this moment (or at all) is the right answer. What if the restrictions do more harm than good to America’s reputation, safety, sovereignty and overall ability to protect itself? Time will tell.
Trust me, you have my pledge that I will not hesitate to call President Trump out with a very loud voice and denounce all decisions that seem arbitrary, prejudicial or just plain “un-American”. Point in fact, everyone should.
I’m not there yet. If a temporary halt to immigration (including a comprehensive vetting of refugees and visitors to our country) and deporting known and habitual criminals back to their home of origin contributes to an enduring American safety, what possible motive would anyone have to object or sabotage this process? Even a stronger vetting posture will never keep all terrorism from our shores while the side effect of any attempt might inconvenience some legal, law-abiding citizens.
With that, I remember sitting in the middle of a plane in Kabul, Afghanistan years ago, proper documents in hand waiting to board new passengers and continue on to my destination. A group of heavily armed soldiers came onboard and ordered us (through a translator) to gather our belongings and follow. We all were led to a huge concrete warehouse without explanation, and left alone for several hours until someone, somewhere, decided it was okay to get back on the plane. It was far from a pleasant experience, but it was “procedure” for that country. It is difficult for any American that has never left the country to imagine such a thing. I will never forget it.
Armed with the facts, you be the judge.
Regardless of what you read or hear, America is not Nazi Germany and President Trump is not Hitler. Painting anyone with a malicious, derogatory broad brush is inexcusable and solves nothing. Considering our violent past and murky future with radical Islam, our rising national debt and current fiscal instability, depleted natural resources and brand spanking new government administration, the careful consideration of “case by case” emergency humanitarian assistance to the world…not only seems a logical American response to the refugee crisis, but entirely appropriate and ethical, as well.
God Bless You, and God Bless America