As of Monday evening, the governors of twenty-four states have declared that they are not going to allow any Syrian refugees to be settled in their states. Barack Obama, predictably enough, is livid.
The governors have all cited, quite reasonably, the security risks involved in taking the refugees. The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, noted that “a Syrian ‘refugee’ appears to have been part of the Paris terror attack. American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger.” Robert Bentley, the governor of Alabama, agreed, explaining that he did not want any of the refugees in Alabama because “I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”
The governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, was similarly security-minded: “No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria,” he said. “My view on this is the safety and security of the people of the Commonwealth of Mass. is my highest priority. So I would set the bar very high on this.” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson stated simply that taking Syrian refugees at this time “is not the right strategy.”
Barack Obama remains convinced that it is exactly the right strategy.
He said that the Paris jihad massacre, which were perpetrated by, among others, at least two “refugees” who had just recently arrived in Europe, was just a “setback” that wouldn’t deter him in the slightest from pursuing his scheme to flood the U.S. with at least 10,000 refugees from Syria. He termed opposition to his plan “shameful,” casting American acceptance of the refugees as a moral imperative and saying: “We have to, each of us, do our part, and the United States has to step up and do its part.”
The United States has to do its part, in Obama’s view, but he didn’t explain, and of course was not challenged by his lapdog media, why Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar don’t have to do their part. Those countries, even though they have a linguistic, cultural and religious bond with the refugees, have accepted none of them at all all, citing the risk of terrorism. Why can’t Americans cite the same risk, and likewise refuse to take in these refugees?
Obama didn’t answer that question, but he did imply that objection to the refugees was really all about religious bigotry:
When I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims. When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted. When some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution — That’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
Fair enough. But do we have common sense limits to our compassion? If the “right-wing extremists” of the administration’s imagining were really as lethal as Islamic jihadis, Obama might have a point about not applying religious tests to our compassion. But unfortunately for Obama’s presentation of the issues involved in the refugee crisis, Christians are not waging jihad around the world. Christian terrorists did not boast last February that they would soon inundate Europe with 500,000 refugees – Muslim terrorists did. The Lebanese education minister did not recently warn that there were 20,000 Christian terrorists among the Syrian refugees in camps in his country – he said there were 20,000 active jihadis. It was not a Christian terrorist, but an Islamic State operative who boasted in September, shortly after the migrant influx into Europe began, that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 terrorists had already entered Europe.
Obama didn’t address those facts. Instead, he portrayed the refugees — all of them — as victims:
The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism … It is very important … that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.
Meanwhile, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes tried to address some of the real concerns, asserting that American officials had “very extensive screening procedures” that they would employ among the refugees. Former NATO supreme commander James Stavridis added his own claim that U.S. officials would be able to vet the refugees “safely and appropriately,” and declared:
We should continue to take a substantial number of Syrian refugees because it is the right thing to do for the international community and because over time they will prove to be citizens of real capability and true grit, like many who immigrated before them in troubled times. The key is serious vetting using all the tools at our disposal.
How he knew that the refugees would “prove to be citizens of real capability and true grit,” he didn’t say.
At the same time, there were discordant voices. FBI Director James Comey doubted that the refugees could be easily vetted: “If we have no information on someone, they’ve never crossed our radar screen … it will be challenging,” he said — and most jihadis from Syria have not crossed the U.S. radar screen, as the U.S. fought for ten years in Iraq, not Syria.
Even worse, the Obama administration has already shown itself incapable of distinguishing “moderates” from “extremists.” Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, recently confirmed that while Obama was claiming to be supporting “vetted moderates” in Syria, the administration was actually supporting al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, and directly enabling the rise of the Islamic State. The administration also spent $500 million to find and train “moderates” in Syria, and could only come up with fifty trainees — all of whom immediately disappeared after being let loose in Syria.
Obama can’t vet the refugees, and they shouldn’t be allowed into the United States. The governors of the states that have already revolted are right; we can only hope that the other governors will soon join them.