Let us begin this post with a message to our French brothers and sisters (that’s right brothers and sisters, because without them we wouldn’t even have a country, folks!). Every single one of you is in your Yokels’ thoughts. We were absolutely sickened by the heinous acts that occurred in your country over the weekend. Hopefully the passage of time and prosecution of those responsible will help heal those wounds. And to those who did this: you are truly the most horrible people to inhabit this Earth. Truly.
Now, with that being said, there is something else that sickens us. Blaming an entire group of people for the actions of a few. And oh how nice, that almost every member of the Frederick Republican delegation showed the Frederick News Post just how crazy they can be. First we nominate Delegate Barry Ciliberti for most misleading statement about the vetting of Syrian refugees:
“None should come until we have the credible intelligence to vet these people. We should declare an immediate moratorium.”
Hmmm, Is it true that there isn’t any credible intelligence that the government uses when deciding whether or not someone from Syria is allowed in? Well, according to TIME Magazine:
The process begins with a referral from UNHCR. The U.N.’s refugee agency is responsible for registering some 15 million asylum seekers around the world, and providing aid and assistance until they are resettled abroad or (more likely) returned home once conditions ease. The registration process includes in-depth refugee interviews, home country reference checks and biological screening such as iris scans. Military combatants are weeded out.
Among those who pass background checks, a small percentage are referred for overseas resettlement based on criteria designed to determine the most vulnerable cases. This group may include survivors of torture, victims of sexual violence, targets of political persecution, the medically needy, families with multiple children and a female head of household.
The article goes on to say that the process takes at least 18 months and that only 50% that apply are allowed in. But let’s continue with the scare tactics. Senator Michael Hough:
Hough said he worried that not enough attention would be focused on the issue because of “political correctness,” and that the country will move too quickly to accept refugees.
“We’ve been unable in the past to keep [terrorists] out, even in our legal [immigration] system,” Hough said. “What we don’t want is to have ISIS terrorists slipping in with [refugees].”
Why is political correctness always thrown out like it’s such a horrible thing? It seems that when someone rallies against political correctness it’s usually because they want to say something that is crazy, rude, racist, sexist, or–in this case–xenophobic. We are not letting Syrian refugees into this country because we are afraid of not being politically correct. Maybe, just maybe, the thinking is that we will allow these poor people (who have been through hell) into our country so that they can have a better life. You know, the same reason that drew every other immigrant to our country.
Let’s say that the United States, the supposed beacon of liberty, does reject them. Are they to permanently live in wretched refugee camps ? Or should they be forced to return to ISIS controlled areas where they will surely suffer? Why should Europe assume sole responsibility for this? Perhaps if we take these people in, we educate them and their children, then we can move one step closer to winning the war of ideas. If we reject them we will surely poison another generation against our country.
We cannot run national policy on a bunch of fear mongering “what ifs”. And we certainly cannot shut everyone out because we fear a few may slip through. We have safeguards in place. We need to be compassionate and we need to see the bigger picture. I think some out there need to be reminded of the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty (thanks, France!):
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Thankfully, a handful of local buffoons and fear mongering governors cannot prevent the compassion that these people so greatly need. And kudos to both Delegate and Senator Young for being the only voices of reason in the article today. Nobody wants terrorism in this country. But we must be very careful not to let our fears prevent us from doing what is right and just.