Barack Obama, the now mercifully-former president of the United States, was never a big fan of borders. Somewhere in that liberal addled head of his, he had the notion that we should simply let into the USA people from everywhere on earth, whether or not they had anything to offer the nation, with whatever flimsy excuse they could come up with -- or he could.
When Syria -- a crisis largely precipitated by his failure to keep the USA militarily engaged in the region after we had successfully liberated Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS -- turned into a tragedy for its civilians, well, refugees fled the area as fast as they could. Obama saw an opportunity to flood the USA with civilians from Syria, creating future Democrat voters (he assumed). He also, very possibly, didn't care about the frightening percentage of ISIS types who would mix in with the refugees coming here, since even the true refugees had no documentation against which their identity could be verified.
Obama wouldn't care about that, since more turmoil here from ISIS types would only support his case that we needed more government, which is his goal in the first place. Then Hillary Clinton signed on, pledging to quadruple, or more, the number of unvetted Syrians. Less borders, more government needed. The leftist's way.
Well, Hillary lost, and her willingness to flood the nation with Syrians certainly didn't help the level of trust she portrayed during the election. Donald Trump won and, of course, is now the president. And he has a decidedly different opinion on dealing with Syrian refugees.
For one, they are from a Middle-Eastern Muslim culture and speak Arabic. Granted, Syria is not a fun place, but any sensible person would agree that if they are forced to leave Syria, especially on a temporary basis, the most comfortable place for them would be, you know, another Muslim, Arabic-speaking country. Fortunately, the Middle East, where they already live, is full of those.
And to the credit of nations like Jordan, at least some of them have risen to the task. Most have not, to their eternal shame. Even knowing that the Arab nations taking in refugees would encourage them to help resolve the Syrian crisis faster so the refugees could return to their homes, well, Obama didn't see it that way. "Bring 'em all here", his message was. Gee, Europe had taken in a bunch, and save a few mass murders, that had gone really well, hadn't it?
President Trump, of course, has the best interest of Americans as his first priority. Therefore, with the encouragement of the Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, he has ruled that only those refugees who arrived prior to August 2016 would be eligible for the now-due 18-month extension to the program ("Temporary Protected Status") under which they are here, and no further refugees from Syria would be added.
We have to support that effort, and I would have been perfectly fine if instead of having the ones extended under that status, we had funded a resettlement program that created temporary homes in a suitable nation in the Middle East. There, instead of being totally uprooted and dropped in an alien USA, they would at least be able to live culturally in their temporary country and actually communicate with their neighbors.
I also hope that this is the first in what will be subsequent responses to humanitarian refugee crises by the USA, that focuses on resettlement locally rather than globally. We have seen the horrific outcomes in Germany and France and elsewhere, when people are totally uprooted and dumped into an alien culture. We have seen that here (think Minneapolis) and it is no prettier.
We have to deal with the Syrians who were here -- and again, this is not a reflection on them personally, but on the foolish policy that brought them here (rather than resettling them in the Middle East), even with us contributing to that effort. We have to deal with them, much as we do the DACA people, because previous administrations took foolish steps that exacerbated the problem. We have to deal humanely with the DACA people, and we have to do the same with the Syrians.
But as for the Syrians, stopping the flow here and cutting off the visas had to happen, lest the program, like so many government programs, lived on until it was the norm. We need the norm to change, or at least not become one pernicious for the USA.
This is one of those growing number of Trump policies that are dramatic changes from previous administrations, and which are given actions with the teeth to enforce them. I certainly appreciate it.
We do need more of that.
Copyright 2018 by Robert Sutton
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