Saturday, February 04, 2017

Executive Order Hysteria Stoking and Protecting Refugees . . .

On January 27 President Trump issued an Executive Order placing a 120 day hold on admitting refugees to the US and barring for 90 days nationals from seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from entering the US while procedures and standards for admission and entry are reviewed. "Spontaneous" anti-Trump protests (organized by the Arab American Action Network ?) erupted at airports all across the country in response. Congresswoman Claudia Tenney came out in support of Trump's Order (official statement here) and called the numerous protests of it "hysteria."

Bravo to Pres. Trump for the Order and to Rep. Tenney for supporting it and calling out the protestations for what they are!

But on Wednesday, the Utica Observer Dispatch stoked the hysteria by penning an editorial entitled "Don't snuff out the lamp at the Golden Door" which quoted Martin Niemoller's famous words  "'First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out  -- Because I was not a Socialist ... Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.'"

Rev. Niemoller's words are compelling, but they are mis-used by the O.D. because Pres. Trump is not "coming for" anyone.  Rather, Pres. Trump is trying to keep out persons -- such as terrorists and criminals -- that 8 US Code Sec. 1182 bars from admission to the country. (I assume that the O.D. is OK with keeping terrorists and criminals out of the US, but that is hard to discern from the the editorial.)

The O.D. implies that the Order is "unjust," states that it "should not be tolerated," and then, using an "us vs. them" perspective which appeals to our civic pride as the "town that loves refugees" and uses our personal friendships with the immigrants who have rebuilt Utica, argues that the order "goes against the grain of who we are." The last three words are red-flagged because they were used a lot by the Obama administration to lecture us on what it wanted us to believe about ourselves rather than represent us as we are reflected by our laws.

To support its call to "stop the ban" (an inaccurate description of a "pause" in admissions while our screening system is improved) the O. D. then veers into, essentially, Democrat Party talking points, cites (without a hyperlink) a "New America" report (challenged here and here), and then repeats an often-repeated claim by Congressman Nadler that "none" of the people committing terrorist acts in the US since 9/11 came from the seven countries named in the order.

Rep. Nadler's claim is refuted by a simple Google search which reveals that the 9/17/16 St. Cloud MN mall stabbing spree and 11/28/16 Ohio State car-ramming and stabbing attack were both committed by Somali refugees. The facts that Nadler's claim and the "New America" report are taken at face value and that the EO is implied to be a Muslim ban ("Muslim" appears no where in the EO) suggest that facts do not matter but, rather, emotion, good intentions, who one's friends are, and political leanings rule.

Coming out of the last administration that denied the existence of radical Islam, the new administration clearly needs to take another look at the vetting system to ensure that ties to that ideology are not overlooked.  

EO Sec. 4 makes clear that revised screening procedures are not only to keep out terrorists but also persons who might commit criminal acts.  Indeed, Somali gang violence in Minneapolis and Sudanese gang violence in Omaha where the victims are also refugees suggest that current vetting is inadequate. Barring those who would commit crimes would protect the refugees themselves.

If the O. D. was talking about Italian refugees instead of people from Africa and the Middle East, no doubt it would demand that all steps be taken to weed out Mafiosi who might be embedded with them!

If the US is serious about protecting refugees, it would ensure that the violence they are escaping from does not follow them here.


Greens and Beans said...

There are people who are just waiting to protest any policy change, Presidential appointee choice or Executive Order (EO) the Trump Administration could even suggest! And the Utica press seems delighted to fuel this public discourse. President Trump correctly criticized President Obama for telegraphing his military moves and failing to properly address the many foreign and domestic terrorist attacks. Many American lives were lost in the U.S. and in battle because the enemy was prepared by the Obama Administration's flawed saber-rattling advanced notice led to terrorist attacks. Subsequent to both 1993 and 2001World Trade Center attacks, neither U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush honored their oaths (I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . .") to adequately protect the people of the U.S. by vetting those immigrants with terrorist backgrounds. I question how much more blood need to be shed for the Utica Observer Dispatch to wake up and realize that their position on the President's vetting EO is in the best interest to secure the U.S.?

dave said...

Right On, Strike. The hysteria is a good example of "fake news." I never met anyone in the news or entertainment business to whom the greater objectives of the political process meant anything. Instead they've all been mostly interested in themselves or profits. Hysteria induced by fake news is great for the media business. Putting aside the clownish way Trump handles his public pronouncements, the news media should have handled this in a factual manner and stated that a 3 month moratorium was in place for the seven most troublesome and dangerous countries.

Anonymous said...

OD editorials should not be taken seriously or not read at all. They deal in pap usually founded in left wing social causes. Locally, they merely superficially cheer lead while failing to address the obvious particularly when it comes to local political leadership and accountability.

Anonymous said...

When over the last 10 - 15 years has the OD been worth reading?

OpEd or otherwise it is at best irrelevant and at worst it's been a cheerleader in support of local corruption.

So much potential for investigative reporting ... talk about having the stories sitting right there if only they'd do their jobs.

Just put it out of its misery and end it, sadly we'd all be better off.