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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Immigration clarification

A serious matter like immigration should get more serious consideration and less posturing.  I want to present corrections of some mistaken notions that are being repeated in discussion of the matter.

Ian Tuttle explains why Syrian refugees aren't 1939's jews:

Among politicians and their clingers-on, journalists, nothing takes hold like a bad historical analogy. 
...the failure of the analogy becomes clear. 
The first, and most obvious, difference: There was no international conspiracy of German Jews in the 1930s attempting to carry out daily attacks on civilians on several continents. No self-identifying Jews in the early 20th century were randomly massacring European citizens in magazine offices and concert halls, and there was no “Jewish State” establishing sovereignty over tens of thousands of square miles of territory, and publicly slaughtering anyone who opposed its advance. Among Syrian Muslims, there is. The vast majority of Syrian Muslims are not party to these strains of radicalism and violence, but it would be dangerous to suggest that they do not exist, or that our refugee-resettlement program need not take account of them. 
...A non-trivial minority of refugees who support a murderous, metastatic caliphate is a reason for serious concern. No 13 percent of Jews looked favorably upon the Nazi party. 
Third, European Jews in the early 20th century were more amenable to assimilation than are Syrian Muslims in the early 21st. By the time of the rise of Nazism, Jews had participated in the intellectual and cultural life of Germany for a century and a half — a life that, despite regional particularities, indisputably fell under the broad banner of Western civilization, in which America participated, too. 
Sloppy thinking and bad analogies don't contribute anything positive.

Andrew McCarthy clarifies the question of a religious test:

Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission  
must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant. 
 Moreover, to qualify for asylum in the United States, the applicant must be a “refugee” as defined by federal law. That definition (set forth in Section 1101(a)(42)(A) of Title , U.S. Code) also requires the executive branch to take account of the alien’s religion: 
The term “refugee” means (A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality … and who is unable or unwilling to return to … that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of … religion [among other things] …[.] 
The law requires a “religious test.” And the reason for that is obvious. Asylum law is not a reflection of the incumbent president’s personal (and rather eccentric) sense of compassion. Asylum is a discretionary national act of compassion that is directed, by law not whim, to address persecution.

That's the law as it stands.  See for yourself.

David French has some thoughts on biblical arguments:
As a general matter, advocates of open borders often refer to Mosaic law requiring the Israelites to treat the “foreigner residing with you” as if foreigners were “native-born,” and to “Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” The laws of Israel, they point out, applied equally to the “foreigner” and the “native-born.” 
Putting aside that Mosaic Law would prohibit refugees from worshiping Allah, demand the death penalty for many of the core activities of the sexual revolution, and impose dietary restrictions that the latté Left might find a bit onerous, we can see that these critics are making a basic error: interpreting commands directed at individuals as mandates for national policy. 
He also has some thoughts from Walter Russell Mead.

Charles Cooke shares his thoughts including some history and context:

Listen for a few minutes to the raging debate over the fate of the Syrian refugees, and you will hear a familiar phrase rear its weary head: “The United States is a nation of immigrants.” This line has two purposes in modern American life. The first is to serve as a dry description of the period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Roaring Twenties, during which the United States accepted tens of millions of émigrés looking for a better life. The second is to act as a cudgel in our contemporary immigration debate. Over the past few years, President Obama has proven himself to be especially fond of the phrase. The United States, Obama submits, has “weaved a tradition of welcoming immigrants into the very fabric of who we are”; its people, he argues, “were strangers once, too,” and found good neighbors here; this is, above all else, “a nation of immigrants.” His conclusion? We should change our current system in exactly the way he desires. 
In a purely historical sense, the president and his parrots are correct: The United States does indeed have a long tradition of welcoming outsiders to its shores. But, in the immediate context, one must ask “So what?” The question currently before us is not “Should Americans ever accept new people into their midst?” or “Is immigration a good thing per se?” but “What policy should the United States adopt toward the Syrian refugee crisis?” It cannot be answered merely by appealing to general principles. 

Finally, Kevin Williamson shares his thoughts concluding:
When in doubt—and the doubts here are heavy—the wisest thing is to do is: nothing. Certainly it is prudent to proceed slowly and with extreme caution before we take any steps that are difficult or impossible to reverse.

A whole lot of nonsense to clear up.


Clovis e Adri said...


I have a much simpler principle to offer.

Did the United States interfered with Syria?

If the answer is yes, I think it has the moral duty of accepting refugees.

Otherwise, we have this ludicrous situation where you are free to enter and bomb anything you like there, but none of them has a right to flee from that hell to your own country.

Now how fair that sounds to you?

Oh, I know - the world isn't fair - but the US sure likes to invoke those higher moral principles to kick some doors when it is in your interest.

Barry Meislin said...

Yes, that sounds about right.

Given that the progressive mantra---aka the cutting edge of morality---calls for Western nations to commit national suicide.

For all the right reasons, of course.

Howard said...

As an extension of Barry's comment: (Tunku Varadarajan, h/t Instapundit)

The West — Europe, in particular —is in a terrifying bind, for it has living in its midst substantial populations of Muslims, the majority of whom are poorly integrated into Western society. And by integration I don’t simply mean a case of Abdul or Cherif or Aicha getting up every morning to go to work with other citizens of Belgium or France or Denmark, but an embracing of the civic and social and constitutional values of these countries — what might, by useful shorthand, be called the Western “way of life”.

To the extent that we have the full facts, we know that every single perpetrator of the carnage in Paris was home-grown. That is a chilling fact (and phrase), conjuring visions of a venom that eats away at the body-politic, with echoes of a cancer in the human body. The fault, I fear, is that of Europe’s elites. For decades, they ignored — and even actively worked against — integration, scorning it as unfashionable, old-fangled, and, worst of all, racist. Is OurWay, they asked, with impressively self-destructive hubris, really better than Their Way?

That question now has an answer. It’s an answer the West must live and, increasingly, die with.

Those elites, at least their groupthink is of the most fashionable kind dontcha know.