Refugee-Whiz

Last Friday Trump signed his most controversial Executive Order to date, suspending entry into the U.S. for all immigrants and non-immigrants (refugees included here) for a period of 90 days while what Trump claims is a newer, more effective vetting system is put into place that will better ensure the safety of the citizens of the United States. Prudent precaution? Hate-filled discrimination against those who need help the most? Somewhere in between? Let’s investigate.

 

 

Let me ask you something:

If you come home to find that a pipe burst and is flooding your kitchen, what’s the first thing you do? Ten points to anyone whose first thought was to turn off the water, because you can’t fix a pipe while water’s flowing out of it.

In case anyone missed the analogy coming from ten miles away, this is exactly what Trump is doing with his freeze [notice how I said freeze instead of ban] on immigrants and non-immigrants coming into the country. It’s just not practical to reform the vetting process for immigrants, refugees, tourists, or any other person wanting to come into the country while they are coming into the country.

Visualize it: the girl represents the U.S. reforming the immigrant/refugee (Diet Coke) vetting system without any suspensions in place (source: imgur)

Counterpoint #1:“But Craig!” you protest, “there has not been a single death from an act of terrorism on U.S. soil from any of the seven countries on Trump’s ban list!”

Response: Great Scott, you’re absolutely right, though not for lack of effort from the Ohio State stabber Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Somebody call up Trump and let him know that we will not stand for such a hateful and xenophobic position on refugees until someone from the “ban” list has killed at AT LEAST one U.S citizen in an act of terror. I mean, it’s not like ISIS is capable of utilizing the refugee crisis to sneak in opera-OH DEAR GOD THEY CAN AND THEY HAVE. In fact, Director of National Intelligence Eric Clapper himself said early last year that American-based extremists: “pose the most significant Sunni terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland in 2016.” Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, took it a step further and added that ISIS “will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the US homeland in 2016.” So what’s it going to be, guys? Precautions or no precautions? I’m going to go with the former here.

Counterpoint #2: “This ban is unconstitutional since it’s illegal to discriminate against immigrants due to their religion. This Muslim ban is illegal!”

Response: First things first. This is not a Muslim ban. If this was specifically directed against Muslims, then Indonesia (209.1 million), Pakistan (176.2 million), India (167.4 million), and others would be included. Matter of fact, please reference the following sweet graphic breakdown of the Muslim population that this ban affects:

Science!

source: reddit user jjwutang

And don’t even get started on the ban having nothing to with places where Trump does business, unless you can send me a picture of Trump Tower in Islamabad, Pakistan. Second of all, it’s not unconstitutional. While it IS against against statutory law (8 U.S.C. Section 182 (f)) to deny entry into the U.S. to immigrants due to religious affiliation, it IS NOT unconstitutional (or is it against statutory law) to deny entry to non-immigrants, or in this case, refugees, for any reason whatsoever. Is it morally reprehensible? Absolutely. Good thing it only lasts for 90 days.

According to the EO, Various agencies including the FBI and DHS will be tasked with establishing a new, more comprehensive vetting process for immigrants and non-immigrants coming into the U.S. Trump will be receiving period reports at 30, 60, 90, and a final at 120 days to keep him up to date on the latest developments. So i hope this allays some of your fears that this is not an executive order rooted in hate like so many of the media outlets are informing you, especially since part of the order outlines how the U.S. will especially be vetting screening refugees and immigrants for hate and discrimination of the LGBT community, blacks, or women. I’m serious. Read it here. Section 1, paragraph 3, last sentence.

What can we learn? This is a theme that will no doubt be recurring throughout all the posts you see me craft here. It’s quite simple to follow, yet may take just a wee bit of effort. Read the original sources instead of listening to someone else’s opinion on it. Seriously. Don’t even come here until you’ve read or listened to the source, whether it be the full text of a new Executive Order, bill, or Press Update from big daddy Sean Spicer. Look, if you can’t take the advice from me, take it from Elon Musk. Everyone loves Elon Musk.

What it takes to change my mind: If this EO has to be extended past 90 days for no legitimate reason and both immigrants and non-immigrants from all 7 countries on the ban list are still not allowed in with no foreseeable path forward, then I see no choice but to say Trump dropped the ball on this one.

11 Comments on “Refugee-Whiz

  1. Counterpoint #2: you didn’t really address this, more just brushed it aside. 1) If the logic of the ban was to reduce or eliminate a terrorist threat, wouldn’t it make sense to include the countries that have exported documented terrorists? 2) Any group of people from anywhere from any creed from any race will have a certain percentage of psychopaths. Setting a trigger point of ONE bad guy from populations of hundreds of thousands when that would be true of any sample of any group of people that size is cherry picking and confirmation bias of the highest order.

    Counterpoint #3: Most immigrants that are here illegally came here legally and overstayed their visa.

    Counterpoint #4: vetting processes are already extremely extensive and sophisticated and take 18-36 months. In practice, no process is perfect, ever. And in theory, any process can be improved, but only to a point. This has been a problem for decades. If the rationale here is that in 90 days the process would be improved drastically, even marginally, that is very weak rationale, especially given the sociopolitical cost of such a sweeping move.

    As an intellectual exercise, I’d love to see Craig write a devil’s advocate article where he tries to argue the opposite point he’s arguing here. Then stack these two arguments side by side and see which is stronger.

    • Thanks for your comment!

      Let’s get crazy and shake it up; I’ll address your post in reverse Counterpoint Order:

      I really like your idea for the devil’s advocate article, and if writing were a full time gig for me I’d take you up on it. My day job’s got me pretty tied up though and i’ll be lucky to get 2 posts out weekly, so i’ll hard pass on this and leave the debating up to the comment section.

      Counterpoint #4: The vetting processes haven’t been sophisticated enough, according to the POTUS. And as far as I’m aware, pre-existing vetting procedures did not involve searching through social media accounts for information, as is proposed in the new accounts. Judging from the amount of information that I myself put out there, i’d imagine that to be a gold mine of useable data.

      Counterpoint #3: It sounds like the point you are making here is that an immigrant capable of posing a threat to the U.S. does not necessarily come here illegally at first, but exploits the system by coming here legally at first and then overstaying past what he/she is able.

      We should understand that this executive order suspending immigration from those on the “ban” list is only a single facet of the broad position of reforming the U.S. immigration policy on all fronts. This also includes making sure that those who are here illegally do not continue to remain here in that manner.

      Counterpoint #1: A) Yes, it would make sense to include countries that have exported documented terroreuism. B) The fact of the matter is that Germany, France, Sweden, and other countries in the European Union have experienced a dramatic increase in violent crimes since they began admitting refugees in the past year and a half/two years, and these crimes (especially sexual assault and rape) are a direct result of admitting these immigrants. All you need to do is look at the protests going on in Germany right now to see that this is not what the German people, or the U.S. people for that matter, want for their country.

  2. Please see my notes below:

    These countries on this list were identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror and for one more important reason …. Because they were not fulfilling their informational requirements and, yet, the US was letting in immigrants from those countries. Do you think that war torn Syria has proper infrastructure in place to provide us useful (much less correct) information about refugees?

    On Trump’s supposed “business interests” motivating this order … it’s absolutely false. First, there are several countries that are not banned that Trump has no business or relationship with (they include Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, and Lebanon). Second, the reason for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Turkey etc being left off of the list (for now) is because they are of important strategic interest to the United States in that region. This is, most likely, the reason Trump has any business interests there in the first place — because no US administration has clamped down on these countries aggressively. I will save the foreign policy discussion about this for another day (although I have much to say).

    Continuing on topic – It is VERY simple logic to see the pattern of behavior in European countries that have accepted large numbers of immigrants from these territories and not want to suffer the same pattern of events here. Specifically – I am referencing the large number of German, Swedish, French, and English citizens who have suddenly shifted to the political right because of this very issue. Please see CNN article mentioning all of the TERROR attacks within one week in Germany 2016 and see the PEW research poll on EU opinions on immigration and refugees.
    (I have added the full URLs in case the links don’t work)
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/04/europe/germany-alternative-fur-deutschland-afd-angela-merkel/ (Germany)

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/16/european-opinions-of-the-refugee-crisis-in-5-charts/ (poll)

    This 90 day ban of immigrants from these countries does not apply to permanent US residents and they will continue to ensure that those with visas and are LPR will get processed efficiently. (PLEASE SEE STATEMENT HERE) Let’s face it – the minor delay to 109 people or so wasn’t such a big deal. If the argument is that this affects many other people in the United States – which people? If they are LPR and or hold green cards or CURRENT visas they will not be affected. So who else?

    https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states (CBP)

    Lastly, it’s irresponsible to assume, in general, that people who have had ZERO exposure to western culture and freedom will do well here when we do not SINCERELY want them to assimilate. Why would I say that? Because we allow them to depend on government and basically end up living in ghetto areas to remain poor. Not to mention the soft bigotry of the left that basically reinforces their warped worldview and cultural tendencies under the banner of “multiculturalism.” Granted this is a generalization but an overwhelmingly true one …. Look at Germany, France, and the U.K. In fact, take a look HERE and HERE. This is not just my opinion and it isn’t just pulled out of thin air. It is based in the ugly reality of the current European crisis. The best move would be to help integrate refugees into other countries that support their value system — at least until such time as the cultures in those countries moderate and modernize. America is the last bastion of western civilization not yet completely permeated with this problem.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/britains-muslim-problem-1460504305 (assimilation)
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/fran-ois-hollande-france-problem-islam-book-a7358751.html (France)

  3. Hey guys, thanks for the responses!

    @Craig:
    “The vetting processes haven’t been sophisticated enough, according to the POTUS” – forgive me, but I’m not sold on his opinion which is based on 0 expertise whatsoever in the nuances of this problem. Here’s the process: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/29/us/refugee-vetting-process.html. Again, the process can be improved, and should, but adding a few layers of security doesn’t require creating a global outcry and giving our enemies like ISIS the PR fodder they need to further their cause.

    “The fact of the matter is that Germany, France, Sweden, and other countries in the European Union have experienced a dramatic increase in violent crimes since they began admitting refugees in the past year and a half/two years” – Ok. let’s say that’s true. you’re discounting the fact that these countries have basically open borders and are part of the same landmass as the refugees. From the source above: “The United Nations decides if the person fits the definition of a refugee and whether to refer the person to the United States or to another country for resettlement. Only the most vulnerable are referred, accounting for less than than 1 percent of refugees worldwide. Some people spend years waiting in refugee camps.” Problem is though, that your statement is incorrect. There’s no increase in violent crime from immigration: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00148-015-0543-2. And another: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/10.1162/REST_a_00337#.WJTkMbGZP-Y. And another: https://academic.oup.com/jeea/article-lookup/doi/10.1111/j.1542-4774.2012.01085.x. And another: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6688(199822)17:3%3C457::AID-PAM4%3E3.0.CO;2-F/abstract;jsessionid=716540550E62672820BBE268635E29DD.f02t01. And another: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0010414011421768.
    And again, even if it were true, which it’s not, we don’t have the influx of refugees that these other countries have. I’m not advocating for opening the floodgates for refugees– the processes need to remain in place, but the violence and social tumult you’re suggesting here is simply not the reality for a country like the US, which is physically separated from the source of the problem.

    @Jordan:
    “Do you think that war torn Syria has proper infrastructure in place to provide us useful (much less correct) information about refugees?” – No definitely not. This is a hard problem, and again the process needs to be improved, but not at the expense of the reputation and optics of our country.

    “Second, the reason for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Turkey etc being left off of the list (for now) is because they are of important strategic interest to the United States in that region.” – Ok fine. So why then ban countries that have 0 documented terrorists on export? What exactly was the benefit of that, especially given the hight social cost?

    “It is VERY simple logic to see the pattern of behavior in European countries that have accepted large numbers of immigrants from these territories and not want to suffer the same pattern of events here.” – Like Craig, you’re also discounting the geographical isolation of our country. And the evidence contradicts your claim.

    “Lastly, it’s irresponsible to assume, in general, that people who have had ZERO exposure to western culture and freedom will do well here when we do not SINCERELY want them to assimilate.” – this is a serious overreach– do you precisely know just how westernized some of these people are? I’ll restate your point: “every refugee coming into the US has no desire to assimilate to values like freedom of expression or religion.” This is a hard claim for you to justify.
    You know my views on Islam. But again, there’s no Mario pipe pumping extremists fresh from their morning beheadings across our borders– this is an 18-36 month rigorous process of interviews and background checks.

    Across the board here, both of your arguments are missing the fact that:
    1. America is geographically isolated.
    2. While Europe has immigration registration, their vetting process and the degree to which they maintain their border is not even in the same universe as ours.
    3. Many studies have been done that show no increase in violent crime from immigration.

  4. And as far as the “Obama did it first” defense– it was in response to a very specific threat from a very specific thing over a very specific circumstance:
    “In May 2011, two Iraqi refugees were arrested in Kentucky on terrorism charges, the only two Iraqi refugees ever linked to terror. The FBI found something worrying: fingerprints from one of the arrested refugees, Waad Ramadan Alwan, on a roadside bomb in Iraq.

    This suggested there was a very specific flaw in America’s refugee screening process: Databases of fingerprints from Iraqi militants Iraq were not well-integrated into the broader State Department–run refugee admissions process. As a result, the Obama administration initiated a new review of all roughly 57,000 Iraqis refugees who had been recently admitted into the United States.”

  5. AND it wasn’t a ban: “’While the flow of Iraqi refugees slowed significantly during the Obama administration’s review, refugees continued to be admitted to the United States during that time, and there was not a single month in which no Iraqis arrived here,’ Jon Finer, an Obama administration official who worked on national security, writes at Foreign Policy.”

  6. @Jordan: also “These countries on this list were identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror” — not quite. After the 2 iraqis were arrested in Kentucky that should have been caught in screening, Obama amended the visa waiver program to remove the waiver for dual nationalists from those countries (e.g. a French Syrian), and to heighten screening of people who have traveled to them and other conflict zones recently. “Sources of terror” was nowhere in the language, especially since the whole point was to catch people that were also citizens somewhere else. Although Obama yielded to Iran after they threatened to proverbially nuke the nuclear agreement he was working on. That’s one problem with Obama– too much of a rationalist, not much of a poker face. Backing down on Iran, on Putin, not the best…
    Sources:
    Here’s the full hearing of the visa waiver program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSTzvQWInzQ

    Others:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/world/middleeast/13baghdad.html
    http://www.snopes.com/president-obama-ban-muslims-2011/
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/01/21/obama-administration-rolls-out-new-visa-waiver-program-rules-in-wake-of-terror-attacks/
    http://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/31/14444862/obama-refugee-ban-2011

    • You are consistently wrong here … I am growing frustrated the conversation but will end with these points.

      1) These countries WERE INDEED IDENTIFIED UNDER THE OBAMA ADMIN AS SOURCES OF TERROR — In 2015 the “Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015” …. look that up and you’ll find this list of countries in it’s expanded form in Feb 2016. that sounds like terror identification to me.
      2) The Fact that America is geographically isolated has no bearing on the fact that you and others seem to be proposing loading up these refugees and immigrants from other countries and shipping them over here in mass quantities. That’s a mistake. You’ve already conceded that Syria doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to give us good information. Other countries are in a very similar situation. Not even touching the problem of the ideology of over 500 million people in the middle east.
      3) You say studies have found no link to violent crimes … did you even read the CNN article and the statement from the former French president? That’s patently false and the people of Europe largely disagree with you. Germany had a terror attack increase orders of magnitude higher after the influx of immigrants from the middle east.
      4) Despite our vetting process – I do not feel it is stringent enough. It is based on poor sources of information from many countries and we are in a unique time in history. The problem of radical Islam is a unique one and I am not willing to take any unnecessary chances with security. The optics make no difference to me — especially when almost all western democracies ARE SHIFTING TO THE RIGHT BECAUSE OF THIS VERY ISSUE — how many times do I have to say that before you understand that there is a CLEAR pattern of events occurring all across Europe that WE DO NOT WANT HERE. The evidence supports my claim and you know this. The sources you have provided about immigration and crime do not apply — they are not related to the middle east – are out of date (most took place before the Arab Spring) — and are generally too broad. There is ample evidence to the contrary — and my argument is not generally about immigration … it’s about THIS SPECIFIC immigration.
      5) And lastly my statement about westernization of these countries is HARDLY an overreach. You should know better. See the PEW research study and poll of the views of Muslims around the world and the specific polling data of those in Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Read Ayan Hirsi Ali’s book … read Gaad Saad’s commentary about the nature of Islam. Moreover – we place these people on government programs and they never truly assimilate … just look at the actual evidence of the UK and France. (I again refer you to the statement of the former president of France and the statements of Theresa May current PM of Britain.)

  7. “You are consistently wrong here … I am growing frustrated the conversation but will end with these points.” If you’re really that frustrated, then you don’t want a website for conversation, you want an echo chamber. Your unwillingness to concede almost anything, and your enthusiasm to straw man my arguments frustrates me.

    1) “These countries WERE INDEED IDENTIFIED UNDER THE OBAMA ADMIN AS SOURCES OF TERROR” – this is more nuanced than you’re acknowledging

    2) “you and others seem to be proposing loading up these refugees and immigrants from other countries and shipping them over here in mass quantities.” Please stop straw manning my argument. Please stop being a part of that problem. I make NO positive claims about the appropriate amount of immigration, especially refugees. I’m pointing out what I see as flaws in argument. “You’ve already conceded that Syria doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to give us good information.” Not knowing everything about something does not translate to knowing nothing about something. You commit this fallacy a lot. I don’t think you know the process at the level that your statements on this issue suggest. How many refugee interviews have you watched? Have you followed any one particular person through the 24 month process of vetting? If not, then how could you possibly know these things better than the people that do it for a living?

    3) ” You say studies have found no link to violent crimes … did you even read the CNN article and the statement from the former French president?” “Study” vs. “article” = big difference dude, I know I don’t have to define the difference for you. “That’s patently false and the people of Europe largely disagree with you.” — so what? 46% of Americans believe in creationism– why is it that when it’s belief vs. data, the data gets the firing squad?

    4) “I do not feel it is stringent enough. It is based on poor sources of information from many countries” – again, I don’t think you know the process to the depth you’re claiming. Also, not knowing everything about something doesn’t translate to knowing nothing about something. You commit this fallacy a lot, and the problem is that you’ll continue to move the goal post no matter how much more or better information. You have an unrealistic expectation of perfection, and anything more real than theoretical math just doesn’t work that way. Also, the first study is from 2015, the second study is from 2013 and specifically is in reference to asylum seekers. All of them touch on the perception of immigration causing crime and the reality that it, in fact, doesn’t. Have you considered that the sensationalizing of the tiny percentage of incidents leads to this perception? How many millions of people are refugees, and what percentage of those are implicated in these events? Any large number of people will have lunatic murderers. The radical Islamists just have a theological justification for their bullshit, and a great system to recruit other lunatics and desperate people.
    “There is ample evidence to the contrary” — THEN LINK THEM PLEASE. Not articles, but studies. Surely the studies exist.

    5) you’re preaching to the proverbial choir; Islam has bloody borders. But it’s important to remember that the middle east was moving towards democracy when the west’s oil craze led them to topple democratically elected, secular leaders. So it’s not as if anti-freedom of expression is in their DNA. A large part of this problem is the environment by meddling for profit.
    “Moreover – we place these people on government programs and they never truly assimilate” – source? ‘never’ is a strong word dude.
    “just look at the actual evidence of the UK and France. (I again refer you to the statement of the former president of France and the statements of Theresa May current PM of Britain.)” – they make lots of statements– could you please link to the ones you’re referring to?

    In summary,
    1. I want you to source your positive claims with legitimate primary sources
    2. I want you to stop straw manning my arguments
    3. I really want us both to try very hard to empathize and be charitable to the arguments with which we disagree, otherwise we’ll talk past each other and make no progress.
    4. I really want to make progress and learn more than I already know, and I think talking to you is one great way to do that.

    • Addressing your points for the sake of posterity

      1) I source my positive claims appropriately — and I will not chase your standard of “legitimacy”
      2) I don’t accept the premise that I am straw manning your argument — you vehemently push back against any attempt to regulate the migrant crisis, ignore the will of millions of Americans and Europeans, and I do actually think that you want to bring in a “large number” of them. That specific enough?
      3) I don’t waste my time trying to be “charitable” in terms of argument and would rather just analyze your view on it’s face. – I don’t have to read your mind or your intentions. I don’t expect things to go smoothly all the time lol
      4) I am glad you comment and am happy to have you here – anytime about anything. I am also glad to talk to you —

      but I just don’t buy your arguments like “I don’t think you know the process to the depth you’re claiming” (argument of authority which is also a fallacy – two can play that game)
      and
      “You commit this fallacy a lot, and the problem is that you’ll continue to move the goal post no matter how much more or better information” You constantly move the goal post and then end your argument with “you can’t know that to the depth you’re claiming.” So all in all there are many things on both sides of the fence in terms of argumentative style …. that’s why I don’t care for “art” of getting lost in argument style or spotting and naming fallacies. I’m also not intellectually impressed by it.

      Happy Valentine’s day, bro
      :))))

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