Thursday, November 19, 2015

Our Syrian Refugee Problem

We seem to be in a Constitutional crisis over Syrian refugees. 31 State governors have openingly defying the Federal Government in refusing to allow any of the 100,000+ Syrian refugess into their states.

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

It runs the gamit of requesting guarantees from Homeland Security that they will be thoroughly vetting each refugess before allowing them in the country to outright refusals to allow it for any reason. I understand the sentiment, but I am not sure what I think about the heavy-handedness of our Republican Governors.

On the otherhand, President Obama's shocking tone-deafness on immigration in general and Islamic terrorism specifically leaves all of us at risk. He has managed to create such an atmosphere of distrust with just general immigration issues on our Southern borders that how can we believe that the Feds are going to be responsible with Syrian immigrants?

Of course there is always a middle ground, but no one seems to have ideas. Just a lot of blustering rhetoric from both sides. (Big surprise...) It doesn't need to be a crisis. If the pledge poem on the Statue of Liberty means anything, we are must do something. Despite all of the rhetoric, we have not always welcomed immigrants with open arms and unfettered entry.

I remember the tales of my own grandparents who came over in the early 20th Century and landed at Ellis Island. They too were escaping tyranny and pogroms. But before they could leave Ellis Island and take that final boatride across New York Harbor, they were given health exams, extensive interviews, had to have a sponsor or family already here, a place to live, and proof of some kind of employment opportunity. And from what I know, my grandfather had to check in with Immigration every month before he became a citizen. I don't think that it is unreasonable to request something similar for these immigrants...any immigrants, for that matter.

On a side note on that: Elections have consequences and the Dems are by now realizing that losing so many states to the Republicans is a huge consequence.

As always, let's discuss


LL said...

The president is in a hurry to get refugees into the country. The FBI, DOD and at least 31 states are saying, "wait". What's wrong with waiting for a few more months to find a method of vetting that the FBI and others can agree with?

Anthony said...


The concern about Syrian refugees strikes me as political grandstanding more than anything. Unlike Europe, America is screening Muslim refugees before admitting them (we are fortunate in that one can't take a raft from the Middle East or North Africa to the US).

Terrorists looking to enter the US would be smarter to come through Mexico same as the drug traffickers and whatnot do but if I were a betting man, I'd bet that a disaffected American born Somali teens will be involved in the next Islamist attack on US soil.

Six years have passed since Somali-American fighters began leaving Minnesota to become part of al-Shabab. Now the Somali community is dismayed over reports that a few of its own might have been involved in the violence at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

"One thing I know is the fear is growing," said Abdirizak Bihi, whose nephew was among at least six men from Minnesota who have died in Somalia. More are presumed dead.

Since 2007, at least 22 young men have left Minnesota to join al-Shabab, including two who did so last summer. Unconfirmed reports that two more left earlier this month have deepened concerns.

America's screening protocols involve multiple federal agencies in a process that takes, on average, 18 to 24 months. Refugees are vetted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the intelligence community, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in September. Biographical and biometric information is also collected, and the refugees are subject to in-person interviews.
Contrasting the US position with Europe’s, experts say America is in the enviable position of being able to choose which refugees to admit before they're allowed on US soil. In Europe, with thousands of refugees entering daily by land and sea, such in-depth screening is not possible. The Paris suspect in question reportedly entered Greece by providing his fingerprint and data from a fake Syrian passport.

"It's apples and oranges," says Jennifer Sime, a senior vice president of the International Rescue Committee.

"You have a situation in Europe where you have very large numbers of people coming in through different points where there is some sort of registration – people register, information is taken, and then they continue on their journey," she adds. “To apply to become a refugee in the United States, it's not just a quick registration process. It's a two-year process

Unknown said...

Anthony.....This doesn't sound right.......“To apply to become a refugee in the United States, it's not just a quick registration process. It's a two-year process."

Makes it sound like we won't see any refugees for two years right? Then why are we hearing reports of refugees from Syria already arriving? I believe it was in LA (the state). Sorry, I just don't believe ANYthing these people claim.

As far as our Comedian-In-Chief, let's just take in "widows and orphans" then. I sometimes think this guy can't get any worse, then he goes and proves me wrong again. If this last week didn't convince those lockstep Dems that he doesn't care about them or their safety, only how he's perceived in history (Obama - The Peacemaker), then when the next attack on US soil comes, the response from America will be something to see. I'm sure he and his minions will spin it as the Repubs fault. Probably for not funding some NGO enough or something.

It's disgusting his lack of leadership and constant lies.


Anthony said...


Refugees started fleeing Syria (and its violent civil war) in earnest in 2011. Most are in neighboring Turkey. Here is a link to one timeline but there are dozens floating around.

Here is a link to video of a January 2014 Senate hearing (though there are lots of articles that sum it up).

If one wants to argue the latest terror attack means we should not take refugees from Syria or Muslims from anywhere, fine and good, but the issue has been out and fairly high profile for years.

Anonymous said...

How exactly do you perform a multi agency 18 to 24 month vetting process on several thousand refugees from a country that has been in a violent civil war since 2011? Where do you get their background information from? How do you know their passports are valid? What ifthey don't have passports? How do you know their stories are true? How do you confirm their identitities? Where do you house them until or even if you're able to get all these questions answered?
These are things that would be difficult to do if this was a small war somewhere with people trickling in. When you have thousands coming in it overwhelms the machinery in place amd corners get cut. The Marielito Boat Lift went so well.

Anonymous said...

And it's off topic but since you're our link to the Big Apple - Bev, what the hell's up with New York banning hoverboards? I just heard that this morning and I thought "don't they have more important things to worry about?"

tryanmax said...

Obviously, I haven't read 31 governors' statements, but just considering those close to home, Nebraska and Iowa, I have to agree it sounds mostly like political posturing. Gov. Ricketts (NE) limply issued a statement stating the safety of Nebraskans should be considered first (the big meanie) and requested that state resettlement agencies not pursue Syrian cases. Gov. Branstad (IA) said he wants a review of the current screening process and halted resettlement in his state in the meantime.

Both states are listed in the news as ones that are "not accepting" refugees, but just between these two, there is some gradation. Iowa is actively halting Syrian resettlement whereas Nebraska is more passively not pursuing it.

I've also picked up on a lot of conflation and very little explanation of the terms "admission" vs "resettlement" in regards to the refugees. It's often pointed out that the states have no authority to deny admission of refugees (naturally), nor can they close their borders (duh!). But that's not even what's at issue, and to even offer that as an argument misleads the conversation. What's at issue is resettlement, which as far as I can tell, is administered by a network of state, federal and private entities and no one is compelled to participate, not even the refugees.

Anthony said...


Regarding Syrian refugees the Marielito Boat Lift is basically what Europe and the Middle East is dealing with (refugees leave Syria and go directly to their countries, where they are admitted and then maybe vetted).

By way of contrast, the US is accepting applications from people in refugee camps and 18-24 months later deciding 'yeah' or 'nay' based on whether or not any agency has any derogatory information on them, how well their story holds together, etc.

Refugees not having passports is an old problem and there is a special document they are issued to get to where they need to get to.

I confess I have very dated, limited insight into the refugee vetting process (I used to know people who did that sort of thing, but we kind of fell out of touch) but to the best of my knowledge, while some agencies might be asked to actively investigate parts of a prospect's story (this person claimed they worked at X hospital between 2002-2009 can we can verification?) many are just asked if there is any derogatory information in the system.

tryanmax said...

GypsyTyger, While I was only moving into the head-down position around the time of the Mariel Boatlift, it's my understanding that it was orchestrated in large part by Castro himself in order to overwhelm the Refugee Act of 1980--which marked a major shift in US/Cuban immigrant policy--before the ink had a chance to dry.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax and GypsyTyger are both right.

First, there is no way to vet these people. There just aren't any records we can use to verify who these people really are. So the whole vetting thing is actually a placebo.

Secondly, the whole banning of Syrians is a fraud. The states have no power to stop the feds from doing anything. And even if they did, they can't keep the Syrians from moving once they get here. It's just for show to make their voters feel like their governors are doing something.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, My understanding of Mariel was that Castro used it as an opportunity to dump his garbage on us.

Kit said...

"My understanding of Mariel was that Castro used it as an opportunity to dump his garbage on us."

From what I understand, it came amidst an attempted "thaw" in relations by Carter. For some reasons, trying to ease relations with Castro always ends with him screwing us over. It's almost as if the guy cannot be trusted…

BevfromNYC said...

Interesting. I concur that all of this is being done for show by our elected officials to "prove" to the citizenry that they really are worth the money give them and that our government really can do something vetting any immigrants. Just in the immediate areas, there are machine gun toting cops everywhere as of last night. Mostly concentrating in the heavily trafficked tourist areas like Times Square and on the trains. I could come up with a hundred scenarios of potential lethal sites that do not include any of those places. Just like in Paris.

We could go all Orwellian or Sci-Fi and micro-chip each one and follow them all electronically. There's a lot of jobs created.

On another side note: WHY does President Obama insist on demeaning the American People every single time he leaves our shores? Each time he says something nasty about his opposition and the citizenry at large.

Koshcat said...

Recently I have been reading a book on persuasion. To persuade a group to change or follow your lead, they argue you have to answer two fundamental questions: Can we do it and Is it worth it.

Obama is incompetent and his handling of the refugee issue is a perfect example. On the can we do it what most citizens are concerned about is can we do it safely. There are no guarantees but there are ways to help lower risk such as seeing if there are negative reports on the person, requiring a sponsor and a place to live. Obama has said nothing to alleviate these concerns in either the people or the state governors.

In regard to is it worth it, his highness has completely failed to present a clear reason why we should bother. Instead he charges skeptics with racism and meanness. After Paris, both these questions are valid concerns and instead of leading he obfuscates and demeans. So we can criticize how some of the governors are responding but please let's put blame squarely where it belongs.

Anthony said...

Hillary has seen the latest polls and decided that ISIS needs to be destroyed.

Kit said...

Obama has been adept at making a clear case against accepting ANY refugees.

AndrewPrice said...

OT: Subway pitchman Jared Fogel was sentenced to 15 1/2 years in prison for child sex crimes. Meanwhile, McDonald's pitchman "The Hamburglar" remains a fugitive for Grand Theft and Burgery, and is considered obese and dangerous.

AndrewPrice said...

On Obama, I would love to spend a couple hours talking to the man to see if he's just incompetent or really as angry at the rest of us as he sounds. He comes across to me like someone who is really pissed at his country and its citizens.

Anthony, I'm glad to see that Hillary is coming around. I heard she hasn't made up her mind on Hitler yet either as there are no recent polls.

BevfromNYC said...

Koshcat - I agree 100%. Clarity in purpose and action are key. And as Kit points out Obama has been adept at clarity against accepting any refuges. What is most offensive to me, however, is that he chooses to charge the "skeptics with racism and meanness" while not even on US soil. This is demeans the Office Of The President Of The United States and belittles the citizenry of this country. It shows his absolute contempt for having to make his case which shouldn't really BE the issue. It should be gather consensus and an agreement that we all can live with through our Constitutionally elected officials.

In other words, he's trying to play us again, but all he has managed to do is embarrass himself and his administration.

BevfromNYC said...

Re: Jared Fogel - Wow, that was fast!

BevfromNYC said...

Anthony - You have to love Hillary. She actually thinks that we don't notice that she goes as the wind blows.

On a lighter note - Apparently Clinton's "people" are harassing comedians 'cause they don't like what that the jokes are mocking her and not Trump/Bush/etc. [okay, I made that last bit up...]

tryanmax said...

I really wonder what other democratic leaders think of Obama. Even when they seem to disagree with popular opinion in their own countries, they declare they must respect the wishes of the people. Heck, even non-democratic leaders pay lip service to the will of the people. To my recollection, Obama is the only world leader to openly badmouth the rubes back home for not letting him do as he pleases.

Kit said...

47 Democrats voted w/ the GOP to pause the settlement of Syrian Refugees.
Source: The Hill

Rustbelt said...

Just got back from a trip to Facebook and who's one of the top gripers in the Syrian refugee discussion, you ask? Why, it's professional victim* George Takei, of course! Now, he's going on and on about how the Mayor of Roanoke, VA and all those governors have no compassion. (Funny, where was the compassion for last week's terror victims? I didn't see him going viral then.) I looked at his 'essay' and quickly gave up as he went on and on about his time in an internment camp during WWII. Yawn. I wonder if he'll pen a similar essay showing compassion for the victims of Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March, the Rape of Nanking, Japan's concentration camps, Unit 731, the Burma Railway...
Nah, we won't. After all, they weren't the 'real' victims of the war. But one can dream.

(*- Okay, I borrowed that descriptor from Nolte.)

You know, am I the only one who thinks fate likes to play cruel jokes on us? We lose the quotable James Doohan, the grouchy, but likable DeForest Kelley, the dignified Leonard Nimoy, and get stuck having to listen to self-righteous crybaby Takei bitch about this and that. IMO, high-ranking members of the Luckiest Guys in the History of Hollywood Club have no business pretending to be important. (At least Ringo has the sense to somewhat admit he was extremely fortunate.)

BevfromNYC said...

With all due respect to George Takai (none), he could have been in Auschwitz or in a Japanese prison camp like my Uncle who was starved and beaten every day for 4 years. At his liberation, he weighed 110 lbs at 6'4".

BevfromNYC said...

GypsyTyger - re: the hoverboard situation. First of all, I had no idea what you were talking about even though I have seen more and more of them lately. But in today's papers, it has been confirmed that either the NYPD or some other gov't agency has reinterpreted the laws governing "motorized vehicles" to include these hoverboards so they can charge a $200 fine if caught. They are still legal in the parks. All I can say is that they couldn't outlaw 16 oz sodas, so they went after these...reminds me of "Wall-E".

BevfromNYC said...

Well, well, well...the US Gov't has finally agreed to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard after 30 years. The US and Israel have been fighting over this for years. As of today, he walked out of prison, not completely a free man, but at least no longer in prison. How coincidental that Pollard has been released since Netanyahu was in town and the Paris attacks, the Mali attacks, the Kenya attacks, Yemen attacks etc. in the last few weeks. Maybe Obama is seeing Israel as an ally rather than an enemy.

EPorvaznik said...

>>WHY does President Obama insist on demeaning the American People every single time he leaves our shores? Each time he says something nasty about his opposition and the citizenry at large.>>

The Dixie Chicks made it cool.

BevfromNYC said...

EP - Obama demeans the office he holds. It is clear he holds us all in contempt because we do not accept a dictator. It goes back to his campaign speech in Berlin. If he could dain to explain and convince rather than demean, he wouldn't be so contemptible. The good thing is even the press and his own party shows signs of seeing this truth.

EPorvaznik said...

Yup, nice to finally have them at the party, but still too late after the damage they helped facilitate.

EPorvaznik said...

Yup, nice to finally have them at the party, but still too late after the damage they helped facilitate.

Critch said...

Castro emptied his prisons with the Meriel Boat-Lift..I suspect that the Brainiac in White House will end up with something worse..I've been gone all week learning how to deal withe felons, both state and federal we are likely to see soon who are being released....On a brighter note, I really tore my right knee up with a fall last week. It seems that there is a lot more gravity around me anymore.

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