Trump, Ryan and the Islam Problem
One of the main areas of contention between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan is the question of Muslim immigration. In early December, when Trump first made his proposal (now a "suggestion") to stop all such immigration until we "understood what was going on," one of the first to react in high dudgeon was Ryan, who declared: "This is not conservatism."
He was applauded for his four-word pronouncement by those "conservatives" at the Washington Post, who called his response "near-perfect." Actually, to me it seemed morally narcissistic and had little to with conservatism, pro or con. Ryan wanted to disassociate himself as quickly as possible from the ugly and seemingly racist Trump.
But let's look more closely at what the speaker said during that response:
When we voted to pause the refugee program a few weeks ago, I made very clear at the time: there would not be a religious test. There would be a security test. And that is because freedom of religion is a fundamental Constitutional principle. It’s a founding principle of this country.
Aside from the obvious -- if people are fighting and killing you in the name of a religion, how do you ignore the "religious test" -- what about that "security test"? Is it really happening or are people slipping into the country by various means, including an open border, with no test whatsoever? What about reports of an ISIS camp eight miles from El Paso?
And, perhaps more importantly, did that "pause" Ryan voted for actually take place in any meaningful way? According to the New York Post a "surge operation" bringing Syrian refugees to America was already in operation this past April. By "surge operation," Gina Kassem -- regional refugee coordinator in Amman -- told reporters, it was meant the resettlement process that normally took 18 to 24 months would be sped up to 3 months. (Some pause!) And the figure of 10,000 refugees that has often been proffered by the administration was a minimum, not a maximum.
What is the maximum and how will they be vetted? And just how do you "vet" during a "surge"? Is that what Ryan really meant by a "security test"? I doubt it, but Trump should ask him at their next reconciliation meeting. As they say, Paul's got some "xplainin" to do.
Now this isn't a simple question. The Syrian people have suffered mightily at the hands of various psychotic despots, secular and religious. Trump has called for supporting more extensive refugee camps in the region, an idea that makes more sense than bringing them here. (He has also called for the Gulf states to pay for them -- good luck with that.)