Politically Incorrect Thoughts On the Syrian Refugee Issue.

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42 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    I appreciate the good work as usual. I think we welcome them because we have destabilized several nations in the name of our national security. Thus we have a moral responsibility to help with the carnage we unleashed. As for endangering ourselves and others I think the Gospel definitely calls us to do so. I am horrified to read otherwise.

  2. Michael says:

    BD,

    I completely agree that we have a moral responsibility as a state because of our actions in that region.
    100% agree.

    However, how we fill that responsibility is open for debate.
    I’m not convinced that I can biblically expect my non Christian neighbor to assume the risks I choose to take.

    This is not, nor has it ever been, a “Christian” nation where the state always acted on biblical principles.

  3. Babylon's Dread says:

    Michael,

    I agree and you are reasonable. Speaking for myself I think we must help there are 4.3 million refugees we are talking about 10k.

  4. Michael says:

    BD,

    My heart would take all if there was a way to know we were helping a true refugee and not a terrorist.
    I hope my heart toward refugees is known by now.
    It does bother me that I don’t see more wrestling over this…those who want to bar them from entrance should also be seeking other ways to ameliorate the crisis.

  5. Kevin H says:

    I am sure there are a good amount of people wrestling with this. I know I am one. The problem is the ones with the loud voices usually are not. On one side you’ve got those screaming that it is idiotic and completely irresponsible to consider letting in even a single refugee. On the other side you’ve got those screaming about how heartless and ruthless are those who don’t want to let the refugees in.

  6. bob2 says:

    Congratulations to all the Repub. governors and the righties running for Pres.

    By stirring up suspicion and fear of refugees and Islam and scoring cheap political points, you’re aiding and abetting our enemies.

    Have a nice day.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/assault-on-life/

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I guess bob2 is Michael’s example of fear mongers.

    Now if you want to take time and evaluate a proposed refugee policy you are aiding and abetting our enemies.

  8. Michael says:

    bob2,

    Fear of Islam comes when adding up the body counts weekly.

  9. Em says:

    good post – reasoned and reasonable – IMHO

    that said, i don’t think our government owes them anything … because our government is not functioning as a cohesive body with a national core
    our government is not “our” government as in of, by and for the people of the United States of America – we ebb and flow these days at the direction of powerful and multi-national interests – is that politics? i guess so – is that welcome to the real world of today? i guess so
    if there were a way to cleanse this Republic of the unintended consequences of misunderstanding the word “freedom” and restore it to its intended, bare-bones function of protection and defense under the Constitution’s framework, it would be, in my mind, a gift given to us by grace from God – a miracle
    pontification over …

  10. Em says:

    yeah, what MLD and Michael said, bob2

  11. Plucked Brand says:

    Well done Michael. Couldn’t have said it any better.

  12. everstudy says:

    Mind if I steal this?

  13. Michael says:

    everstudy,

    If you think it valuable, go ahead.

  14. Alistair says:

    Jesus wasn’t big on religious freedom… I know that’s a shock, but I’ve read the whole book.

    It’s nice to see someone else questioning the biblical basis for the demand for “religious freedom”. No one seems to want to even entertain the question.

  15. Michael says:

    Religious freedom is a wonderful part of our constitution.
    I completely support the doctrine for civil government.

    Biblically, Jesus said that there was only one way, and that way isn’t Islam.

  16. JoelG says:

    Thanks for the clear presentation of the situation. I understand the need for caution, but it seems the U.S. has enough security protections in place so that both security and a loving welcome can be done at the same time.

  17. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    If the government would define and demonstrate the process it would be more than helpful.

    If the process takes 18-22 months…who are these people landing here now?

    I’m actually looking for reasons to affirm this action and I’m having trouble finding them.

  18. Babylon's Dread says:

    Copied

    Gonna go right ahead and dispel a few things I have seen circulating on social media that are half truths or straight up bullshit.

    1) “The attackers in Paris were refugees from Syria.”

    The attackers were French and Belgian nationals, none of them were born in Syria or Iraq or any Daesh (The Arabic abbreviate name for ISIS, which they reportedly hate being called) occupied countries. One of the attackers was found with a Syrian passport which authorities have determined to be a fake, according to a report by the BBC.

    2) “The vetting process for refugees is too easy.”

    The process for vetting refugees is quite thorough, and takes around 18-24 months to complete. For Syrians, the application process can take longer due to security concerns. A terrorist would have a much easier time applying for a tourist or business Visa. Even still, Visa requirements are waived for up to a 90 day stay in the U.S., if originating from a country such as France or Belgium, from where the attackers had passports.

    Before a refugee even faces U.S. vetting, he or she must first clear an eligibility hurdle. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — or occasionally a U.S. embassy or another NGO (non-governmental organization) — determines which refugees (about 1 percent) should be resettled through its own process, which can take four to 10 months.

    Once a case is referred from the UNHCR to the United States, a refugee undergoes a security clearance check that could take several rounds, an in-person interview, approval by the Department of Homeland Security, medical screening, a match with a sponsor agency, “cultural orientation” classes, and one final security clearance. This all happens before a refugee ever steps foot onto American soil.

    There is a concern for how much background information can be collected on an applicant, since it is very difficult to get background records from war torn Syria. This could potentially create a security concern, however as noted, there are much easier and quicker ways for a terrorist to enter the country and do harm.

    3) “The Syrian refugees are mostly military age males.”

    The Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR, are 50.5% female. Children 11 years and younger account for 38.5%. Conservative sites have been quoting misleading numbers about the percentage of males, putting them usually around 72%. However this accounts for refugees from 9 other countries as well, and only for Mediterranean Sea crossings, half of which are Syrian. “Single men of combat age” represent only 2% of those admitted to the U.S.

    4) “The Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon were refugees”

    The Tsarnaevs were children of asylees whose parents did not go through the refugee processing system. Asylees and Refugees have similar but separate legal distinctions according to the U.S. government. A Washington Post headline did once say that they were refugees, which according to the legal definition is incorrect and misleading. Refugees are selected by the UN, an embassy, or by an NGO, while asylees are people who have already arrived in the U.S. and want to apply for asylum status.

    The Tsarnaevs came here as young men and were radicalized in the U.S.A., as opposed to being terrorists who came to the country disguised as refugees.

    5) “We are taking in too many of them already”

    There are 4 million refugees displaced from the Syrian conflict that are registered by the UNHCR. The president has vowed to take in 10,000 of them this year.

    6) “Muslim countries don’t even take in any refugees, why should we? They should help their own people.”

    Turkey (1.9 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), Jordan (629k), Saudi Arabia (100-500k), Iraq (247k), and the United Arab Emirates (242k) are the top countries with hosted Syrian refugee populations. The next closest Western country is Germany, with around 200,000 registered refugees. The U.S. has so far taken in 2,200.

    The Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia are not perfect in their treatment however, since they have limited to no means of obtaining citizenship, permanent re-settlement, or work visas for refugees. Many seek refuge in Europe and the US as a result.

    7) “Most terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have been committed by Muslims”

    Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.

    sources: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/15/jeb-bush/jeb-bush-it-takes-almost-year-refugee-be-processed/

    http://www.ibtimes.com/amid-syrian-refugee-crisis-asylum-seekers-us-face-much-different-process-europe-2186506

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/details-emerge-on-suspected-boston-bombers/2013/04/19/ef2c2566-a8e4-11e2-a8e2-5b98cb59187f_story.html

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/16/politics/syrian-refugees-u-s-applicants-explainer/

    http://www.factcheck.org/2015/09/stretching-facts-on-syrian-refugees/

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34832512

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugees_of_the_Syrian_Civil_War

    http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/us/tally-of-attacks-in-us-challenges-perceptions-of-top-terror-threat.html

    http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/09/20/441457924/gulf-states-fend-off-criticism-about-doing-little-for-syrian-refugees

  19. David says:

    Random thoughts:

    Yup, I’m torn on this and desperately want to let Syrian refugees in to the US. I’m leaning this way.

    I also don’t think we’re prepared, and I can’t blame people for being concerned.

    I think Ben Carson’s “Hell No” strategy is a bad one.

    I also think the President is in over his head on most foreign policy, and people are reacting to a guy who largely speaks in hashtags by this point.

    The Rachel Evans brand of condescension and moralizing is the reverse-Trump (or reverse-Falwell depending on the situation). There isn’t much behind it, but it makes for good Retweets. Suddenly shoving disconnected Bible verses in people’s faces and questioning their faith is acceptable if you’re on the Right Side of History(tm).

    That said, yeah – let a few refugees live in my neighborhood. I’m cool with it. Your move, SJWs.

  20. Michael says:

    BD,

    That was very well done.
    I appreciate it greatly.

    Now, my question is this…when I was being torched by people for supporting the Central American children on the border, where were you?

    One more question…why is it that whenever the broad subject of immigration, refugees, and asylum seekers is raised there is so much purposeful disinformation spread?

    Saw it again this morning…

    “8 Syrians Captured on the Border”…Breitbart

    They neglected to mention that the Syrians were 2 women, 4 children, and 2 men.
    They weren’t captured, they presented themselves as asylum seekers.

    If you don’t understand the difference, you don’t understand the first thing about this mess…

  21. BD nice work in getting this together

  22. Michael says:

    David,

    I loved your comment…looking for a via media between the click bait extremes.

    Well done.

  23. Em says:

    “… it seems the U.S. has enough security protections in place so that both security and a loving welcome can be done at the same time.” JoelG

    while i don’t think that stopping a flood of refugees will solve the security problem (it is just one more place for a terrorist to find cover), i also don’t think that any nation has the capability to provide enough security to stop these guys… thwart some attempts? yes … slow them down? yes … plug as many holes as we can? yes … but only cutting off the head will kill it … i hope our security is more focused than the rest of us

    FWIW and at the risk of repetition and sounding sophomoric (which i am), there isn’t a single one of these people running to the West now who would stick out their necks to turn in a terrorist in their midst – they are in survival mode and their culture says to survive you must imitate the 3 wise monkeys

  24. JoelG says:

    Em I realize this may be anathema to some here, but I trust Obama if he believes we can securely take in refugees from Syria. Common sense tells me he knows a lot more than we do about security threats to our country. I don’t believe we’ll ever kill the threat of Islamic terrorism. But I think Obama and Bush before him have done a good job of protecting us thus far.

  25. JoelG says:

    Protecting us post 9/11, I should specify.

  26. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    My experience in researching how this and previous administrations have dealt with these issues leaves me lots of room for doubt.

    If this went sideways and we were attacked the refugee/asylum issue is dead for years and lots of people with it.

  27. Em says:

    JoelG, i think your observations are sound as i agree that we’re not going to stop terrorism from occurring altogether… and i don’t think that the refugees as persons represent much of a threat – the threat is the terrorist that embeds himself within their midst – just one more door for such a maniac to sneak thru – so, the question is, i guess, does the humanity override the risk? possibly so … but the risk is still a probability

    and for the record, i don’t think Obama’s intent is to enable the terrorist, but neither he nor his predecessor and their advisors have impressed me as top notch, to say the least

  28. JoelG says:

    I trust your research and your reasoning, Michael, as I know you know this subject very well. Let’s pray God gives our leader’s His Wisdom in making these tough choices.

    Em, sadly as long as we are infected with sin, there will be no overriding the risk. All we can do is follow Jesus in TRYING to love our enemies as ourselves, even in the face of death. Ugh….

  29. Babylon's Dread says:

    This from Scott Hicks on Facebook. In case you thought the Syrians were coming today.

    Most of my friends know I practice Immigration law. As such, I have worked with the refugee community for over two decades. This post is long, but if you want actual information about the process, keep reading.

    I can not tell you how frustrating it is to see the misinformation and outright lies that are being perpetuated about the refugee process and the Syrian refugees. So, here is a bit of information from the real world of someone who actually works and deals with this issue.

    The refugee screening process is multi-layered and is very difficult to get through. Most people languish in temporary camps for months to years while their story is evaluated and checked.

    First, you do not get to choose what country you might be resettled into. If you already have family (legal) in a country, that makes it more likely that you will go there to be with family, but other than that it is random. So, you can not simply walk into a refugee camp, show a document, and say, I want to go to America. Instead, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees) works with the local authorities to try to take care of basic needs. Once the person/family is registered to receive basic necessities, they can be processed for resettlement. Many people are not interested in resettlement as they hope to return to their country and are hoping that the turmoil they fled will be resolved soon. In fact, most refugees in refugee events never resettle to a third country. Those that do want to resettle have to go through an extensive process.

    Resettlement in the U.S. is a long process and takes many steps. The Refugee Admissions Program is jointly administered by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in the Department of State, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and offices within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within DHS conducts refugee interviews and determines individual eligibility for refugee status in the United States.

    We evaluate refugees on a tiered system with three levels of priority.

    First Priority are people who have suffered compelling persecution or for whom no other durable solution exists. These individuals are referred to the United States by UNHCR, or they are identified by the U.S. embassy or a non-governmental organization (NGO).

    Second priority are groups of “special concern” to the United States. The Department of State determines these groups, with input from USCIS, UNHCR, and designated NGOs. At present, we prioritize certain persons from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Burma, and Bhutan.

    Third priority are relatives of refugees (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21) who are already settled in the United States may be admitted as refugees. The U.S.-based relative must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) and must be processed by DHS.

    Before being allowed to come to the United States, each refugee must undergo an extensive interviewing, screening, and security clearance process conducted by Regional Refugee Coordinators and overseas Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs). Individuals generally must not already be firmly resettled (a legal term of art that would be a separate article). Just because one falls into the three priorities above does not guarantee admission to the United States.

    The Immigration laws require that the individuals prove that they have a “well-founded fear,” (another legal term which would be a book.) This fear must be proved regardless of the person’s country, circumstance, or classification in a priority category. There are multiple interviews and people are challenged on discrepancies. I had a client who was not telling the truth on her age and the agency challenged her on it. Refugees are not simply admitted because they have a well founded fear. They still must show that they are not subject to exclusion under Section 212(a) of the INA. These grounds include serious health matters, moral or criminal matters, as well as security issues. In addition, they can be excluded for such things as polygamy, misrepresentation of facts on visa applications, smuggling, or previous deportations. Under some circumstances, the person may be eligible to have the ground waived.

    At this point, a refugee can be conditionally accepted for resettlement. Then, the RSC sends a request for assurance of placement to the United States, and the Refugee Processing Center (RPC) works with private voluntary agencies (VOLAG) to determine where the refugee will live. If the refugee does have family in the U.S., efforts will be made to resettle close to that family.

    Every person accepted as a refugee for planned admission to the United States is conditional upon passing a medical examination and passing all security checks. Frankly, there is more screening of refugees than ever happens to get on an airplane. Of course, yes, no system can be 100% foolproof. But if that is your standard, then you better shut down the entire airline industry, close the borders, and stop all international commerce and shipping. Every one of those has been the source of entry of people and are much easier ways to gain access to the U.S. Only upon passing all of these checks (which involve basically every agency of the government involved in terrorist identification) can the person actually be approved to travel.

    Before departing, refugees sign a promissory note to repay the United States for their travel costs. This travel loan is an interest-free loan that refugees begin to pay back six months after arriving in the country.

    Once the VOLAG is notified of the travel plans, it must arrange for the reception of refugees at the airport and transportation to their housing at their final destination.
    This process from start to finish averages 18 to 24 months, but I have seen it take years.

    The reality is that about half of the refugees are children, another quarter are elderly. Almost all of the adults are either moms or couples coming with children. Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the proposed ceiling is 85,000. We have been averaging about 70,000 a year for the last number of years. (Source: Refugee Processing Center)

    Over one-third of all refugee arrivals (35.1 percent, or 24,579) in FY 2015 came from the Near East/South Asia—a region that includes Iraq, Iran, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.
    Another third of all refugee arrivals (32.1 percent, or 22,472) in FY 2015 came from Africa.
    Over a quarter of all refugee arrivals (26.4 percent, or 18,469) in FY 2015 came from East Asia — a region that includes China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. (Source: Refugee Processing Center)

    Finally, the process in Europe is different. I would be much more concerned that terrorists are infiltrating the European system because they are not nearly so extensive and thorough in their process.

  30. Em says:

    i’m confused a bit by the legal counsel’s explanation… i had the impression that 10,000 are headed for various locations in the U.S. right now – how did that lengthy process occur so quickly?
    and i do agree that the threats are more from a few who will attempt every available avenue of sneaking into the country to do harm than any of the vetted feeble and needy souls that, i guess, we can assume are the majority of those seeking refuge… by the way doesn’t “refuge” connote a temporary as opposed to asylum which is a permanent? or is it the other way around?
    one thing is certain, if some of the possible acts of sabotage were successful, then no one would want to be here – including us’ns

  31. John Schmidt says:

    I have to admit this kind of discussion depresses the snot out of me. I think we all know what Jesus said, and how he expects us to think and act towards these poor people. But our fleshly nature, to use an archaic theological term, keeps impelling us to find excuses to hate other people, and gives folks a nearly insatiable hunger to find or invent justifications for it.

    Someone here mentioned that he didn’t find any of this hateful talk among his Facebook circle. I was not so lucky. In fact, if I didn’t have a new granddaughter due to arrive, I would have avoided Facebook altogether for a while so I wouldn’t have to listen to the two or three family members who are of ‘that’ persuasion. Those conversations parallel the ones we see here.

    The one positive thing I see here, as these discussions progress, is that as more facts, non-facts, opinions, evidence and refutations are published, and the dialog moves forward, people seem to be tapering off on their hate and fear, and seeing things more realistically. I hope and pray that this is the case.

  32. Scott says:

    Oh man, the death count since 9-11 is White Supremacists 48, Islamic Jihadists 26.

    I feel so much better now…

    I don’t have time to read through link after link of purported facts proving most Americans are Islamophobic and our concerns are unfounded and rooted in fear.

    I can read the writing on the wall.

  33. Scott says:

    Michael said, “These people scare the hell out of us…the fear is justified…”

    This underscores your point.
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/08/28/found-the-islamic-states-terror-laptop-of-doom/

  34. Babylon's Dread says:

    FOR clarity #18 post was copied from elsewhere…

    I only discovered it. I did not compile it.

  35. Lurkie Loo says:

    Em said: “I’m confused a bit by the legal counsel’s explanation… i had the impression that 10,000 are headed for various locations in the U.S. right now – how did that lengthy process occur so quickly?”

    I have the same question.

  36. passing throgh says:

    Ah, yes. Sarah Palin.

    Sister Sarah sez Jesus would fight for the 2nd Amendment.

    No Word yet from the Prince of Peace?

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/260770-palin-jesus-would-fight-for-the-second-amendment

  37. Babylon's Dread says:

    I would say that the account of Jesus healing Malchus ear proves that the disciples missed the point of Jesus remarks and so does Sarah.

  38. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m starting to think it may be more dangerous to keep them out than to let them in after a careful process.

  39. Josh,
    I was wondering when someone would note this possibility. Think about it, when a person has nowhere to go to get away from danger, often times they will return to their victimizers. Gangs who bully and beat up others to get them to join them, then tell them they will protect them from bad guys, when the victim are victims find out others will not help them, they return back. So too this is true for domestic violence victims.

  40. Alistair says:

    #15 Ah, I misunderstood. I know there are various assumptions that one jumps to when religious freedom is challenged, so I’d love to clarify…but it would take a while and that’s not what this post is about.

  41. overthehill says:

    Excellent article!

    Religious freedom is precious, but if that religion has a reputation for doing harm, it must not be offended when it is regarded with suspicion. As you stated, I have never heard of a Catholic, Mormon or even an atheist being a terrorist. Yes, we have had nutjobs who have done horrible things, but not in the name of Allah.

    One thing I have wondered is why the Muslim countries don’t have their doors open to welcome their brothers and sisters in the faith. It would make more sense for them to go to one of these countries such as Saudi Arabia or Quatar so they could easily be returned to their home country when things settle down. Unless there is an ulterior motive afoot to infiltrate. Hmmmmmmm…….

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