Monday, November 16, 2015

The Republicans' Hollow And Hypocritical Response To Syrian Refugees

On Monday, Scott Walker joined the throng of other Republican governors and lawmakers trying to exploit the terrorist attack on Paris by saying that he would refuse to accept any Syrian refugees in Wisconsin:
Gov. Scott Walker on Monday joined a growing list of governors whose states will not accept new Syrian refugees.

"In light of these horrific and tragic attacks, our first priority must be to protect our citizens. Along with governors across the country, I have deep concerns about the Obama Administration’s plan to accept 10,000 or more Syrian refugees, especially given that one of the Paris attackers was reportedly a Syrian refugee," Walker said in a statement. "In consultation with our Adjutant General, who also serves as my Homeland Security Advisor, it is clear that the influx of Syrian refugees poses a threat. With this in mind, I am calling upon the President to immediately suspend the program pending a full review of its security and acceptance procedures. The State of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees."

Walker joins the governors of states like Michigan, Texas, Massachusetts and Alabama in blocking Syrian refugees from entering Wisconsin for the time being.
In other words, Walker and the other Republicans are turning away tens of thousands of people based on an unsubstantiated rumor.

But that should come as a surprise to no one. When was the last time the Republicans did anything based on facts and truths?

Besides, the Republicans have a tough election year coming up.  How does anyone expect to win if they don't pander to their base's paranoia and bigotry?

But Walker's posturing is just that, emptying posturing. He and the other right wing governors don't have the authority to refuse to the refugees:
The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.” States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.

Just in case there is any doubt, President Obama has explicit statutory authorization to accept foreign refugees into the United States. Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the president may admit refugees who face “persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” into the United States, and the president’s power to do so is particularly robust if they determine that an “unforeseen emergency refugee situation” such as the Syrian refugee crisis exists.

This power to admit refugees fits within the scheme of “broad discretion exercised by immigration officials” that the Supreme Court recognized in its most recent major immigration case, Arizona v. United States. Indeed, in describing the executive branch’s broad authority to make discretionary calls regarding immigration matters, Arizona seemed to explicitly contemplate the circumstances that face President Obama today. The United States may wish to allow a foreign national to remain within its borders, the Court explained, because the individual’s home nation “may be mired in civil war, complicit in political persecution, or enduring conditions that create a real risk that the alien or his family will be harmed upon return.”

Moreover, the Court explained, America could suffer severe foreign policy consequences if the executive does not enjoy broad discretion over immigration matters. “The dynamic nature of relations with other countries,” Justice Anthony Kennedy explained in his opinion for the Court in Arizona, “requires the Executive Branch to ensure that enforcement policies are consistent with this Nation’s foreign policy with respect to these and other realities.”
Again, why let a little thing like reality or the law get in the way of playing to their base's xenophobia and bigotry?

Perhaps Walker is trying to protect us from Muslims like the waiter who risked his life by braving a hail of bullets during the Paris attacks to pull two women to safety?

If Walker and the others were really concerned about our safety, why have they not done anything  for twenty years about profiling white, male former military people like Timothy McVeigh, who killed more people by himself than the terrorists who attacked Paris?  Instead, Walker has made it easier for people like this to commit their atrocities.

Lastly, I am surprised that these so called Christians are willing to take such a stance.  I seem to remember learning as a boy in Sunday School about a seasonal story about Middle Eastern refugees being turned away by cold-blooded fools.

Apparently, Walker missed that lesson too.


  1. Governor "unintimidated" gets it wrong again. He sees Jihadists where victimized small children and the innocent dispossessed stand before him. Shame !

  2. The press is reporting this morning that all the terrorists identified have been European nationalists. Authorities are also saying the Syrian passport found on one of the dead terrorists may be a fake planted for the sole reason of scaring countries into not taking in refugees. So Governor Ignorant plays right into their hands as does Fox News and the Republican propaganda machine. I'm more worried about that quiet, strange, twenty something year old white boy that goes into a school, church or theater and blows everyone away. Maybe we should start deporting them.

  3. Thank you for a well-written and most thoughtful post on the issue that separates reason from lack of reason. Thanks again.

  4. Thank you for being a voice of reason. We are America, or so I thought. Governor Walker is shameful. While he's at it, perhaps he should have the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island razed since he believes the very ideals that we hold dear as a country are all a giant lie.

  5. Thank you Deke and Neicifer for your kind words.

  6. Another running scared reaction from the same dim wits that brought you the Ebola scare.