Why Won’t the Government Explain the Refugee Process

It has been under a week since the attacks in Paris and we’re still not sure of all of the details. It seems very likely the attack was directed by ISIS/ISIL. It is also appears one of the attackers entered Europe through Greece amongst a wave of Syrian refugees. (There are conflicting reports regarding the passport he was carrying. However, there does not seem to be any dispute that the dead man’s fingerprints match the ones provided to Greek officials in June).  Because one of the attackers was among Syrian refugees, there has been a growing chorus of people demanding a halt to the resettlement of the refugees until security agencies can verify there are no terrorists lurking amongst them. In this Country, at least twenty six (26) governors have stated they do not want Syrian refugees resettled in their states. (As an aside, the governors have absolutely no legal authority to block the refugees from coming into their states). The border and refugee crisis that bedeviled Europe this summer has reached America’s shores.

Despite having plenty of forewarning and time to formulate an effective strategy to handle this delicate issue, the US government has done nothing to explain to the American people how refugees are processed and settled in this country. Well, that’s not exactly true. The administration has done what is always does when someone disagrees with them: call them a racist. It is truly pathetic that President Obama is more upset with Republicans questioning his refugee policy than he is with entity that caused the problem in the first place. Beyond that, the administration is responding to every question about the refugees with the variations of the Wilford Brimley defense (i.e. “It’s the right thing to do.”). Why does that seem so familiar? Oh, that’s right, I discussed this back in September:

Why is it so hard for politicians to tell the voters, a/k/a the people who elected them, why they should accept the refugees? Simply mouthing banalities such as “It is the right thing to do” is pointless. (If the Road to Hell is truly paved with good intentions, than “The Right Thing to Do” is surely engraved on one of the bricks.). It is not only pointless but also an admission by the speaker that s/he has no idea why this is, only that this is what “correct thinking” people say to one another. Such vacuous statements do not inspire confidence in leaders. It generates distrust and feelings that those in power are trying to pull a fast one. The belief that the current political parties care more for outsiders than citizens has a corrosive effect on the body politic.

People have the right to be concerned. In fact, the only dumber argument from the pro-refugee side is “We shouldn’t be concerned about the refugees. If the terrorists want to infiltrate, they can just enter the country as tourists or students” argument. That’s your pro-refugee argument? Xenophobia? The proper response of the government is to address these concerns:

What should the politicians say? First recognize the concerns the citizens have. Actually don’t just recognize the concerns, but address the issues to let them know their leaders have their collective backs. That means thinking outside of your social circle. The reason the Democrat Party in the US is getting trounced in Congressional and State elections is because the leaders of the party do not understand the concerns of Middle America. Pauline Kaelism is not a healthy trait for politicians. Listen to the concerns and then allay them by letting the people know that you understand. Explain to them that the refugees aren’t hoovering up money and benefits and won’t steal jobs, but will help to the economy grow and broaden the tax base, reducing the tax burden on working families.

But they don’t. They use weasel words that try to deny the concerns of the people. Even worse, they try blame their own citizens for having these thoughts. This why the European Union is starting to show strains. The Schengen Agreement opened the borders between EU member states. It was supposed to encourage free travel. But with so many refugees coming in, member states are resurrecting border controls, as a “temporary measure”. But these controls are not so much designed to keep the refugees out, but keep the politicians in power. As Gov William J. Lepetomane observed, “We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!”

And they’re still harrumphing today. Consider this tidbit from Bloomberg:

In a call with senior Obama administration officials Tuesday evening, several governors demanded they be given access to information about Syrian refugees about to be resettled by the federal government in their states. Top White House officials refused.

The most transparent administration is history is still refusing to be transparent in its dealings and is treating calls for it to be so as some sort of lèse-majesté. And just so we’re clear, this isn’t just Republicans complaining:

On the call several Republican governors and two Democrats — New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan and California’s Jerry Brown — repeatedly pressed administration officials to share more information about Syrian refugees entering the United States. The governors wanted notifications whenever refugees were resettled in their states, as well as access to classified information collected when the refugees were vetted.

Hassan, one of two Democrats to challenge the administration on the call, had already come out in favor of halting the flow of Syrian refugees to the United States. She expressed anger that state officials aren’t notified when Syrian refugees are resettled in their territory.

Brown said he favored continuing to admit Syrian refugees but wanted the federal government to hand over information that would allow states to keep track of them, the GOP state official said.

[White House Chief of Staff Denis] McDonough responded to Brown that there was currently no process in place to give states such information and the administration saw no reason to change the status quo.

Yeah, why change the status quo? Why take the time to actually explain, using you know, facts, when the current policy of treating the American people with utter contempt is working so well? Seriously, how difficult would it be for this Administration to come out and walk the American people through the process of how a refugee gains admission to this Country? Is it really that demeaning to Obama to expect him to explain his reasoning to the electorate?

Every description of the vetting process for refugees says the same thing: it is a long process with interviews and background checks and so on and so forth to weed out potential terrorists. Fine, but does that mean? How exactly do you determine that Rufus T. Firefly, who claims to be fleeing from war-torn Freedonia is who he claims to be? And how would you determine that he really is a refugee and not part of the Popular Front of Sylvania who has been carrying out terrorist attacks? If Freedonia is emershed in a civil war, might it not be a tad difficult to obtain paperwork from the Freedonian government? And would the Popular Front of Sylvania keep its records up to date and be sharing them with both the Freedonian and American governments? Since the government refuses to explain, doesn’t all of this seemingly require a high level of faith that the government knows what it is doing?

What is so odd about this situation is libertarian organizations, such as Reason and CATO, which normally (and properly) highlight the general high level of incompetence of the US government to do anything, are rushing out to defend the current refugee policy. Why are we supposed to believe the same government that allowed veterans to die because it was overwhelmed in trying to keep track of them will somehow properly vet refugees coming into this country? And if ABC News is right, we have evidence that the government has already screwed up the vetting process:

Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.

That’s more than whoops. It is an admission that vitiates the basic premise of the government’s argument that no terrorist has ever entered the country disguised as a refugee. Actually, it is worse: it is proof the government is knowingly and intentionally lying to the American people. And if it is lying to us about this, isn’t it fair to consider what else it is lying about concerning the vetting and resettlement process?

Back to Bloomberg:

Brown countered by noting that state law enforcement agencies have active investigations into suspected radicals and that information about incoming Syrian refugees could help maintain their awareness about potential radicalization. He suggested the U.S. had to adjust the way it operates in light of the Paris attacks.

McDonough reiterated his confidence in the current process. While promising to consider what Brown and other senators had said, he emphasized that the administration had no plans to increase information sharing on refugees with states as of now.

Translation: <Bleep> you, Jerry. We’ll tell you what we want, when we want.

So sure, the US may have allowed terrorists into this Country as refugees, but according to the guys running the current process, the current process is working perfectly. Worst.Appeal.To.Authority.Ever.

If the government would simply explain the hows and whys of the vetting process to the American people instead of treating them as mushrooms (i.e. keeping them in the dark and heaping shite on them), it would go a long way in alleviating people’s concerns. What is it Brandeis said? “Sunlight is the best disinfectant?” So shine a light on the refugee process and talk to the American people.

But Obama & Co. won’t. Instead, they see any attempt at explaining the process to be beneath contempt and not worthy of their time.

<sigh>

Fine. I’ll make the case for letting the refugees into the country.

Next: Why The US Can Safely Absorb Syrian Refugees

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