Commentary

Posik: Hold Your Tongue Liberals – There’s Plenty of Merit to Refugee Opposition

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Why does it seem like every time a real foreign policy threat occurs, liberals must use incoherent, emotionally charged rhetoric to belittle their political opponents?

Well, because often times they do.

President Obama has insisted that the United States follow through with its original plan to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, despite the evidence that proves ISIS inspired militants are using the refugee crisis that they created to cross borders and unleash gruesome violence in civilized areas of the world as seen last week in the attacks on Paris.

Thirty U.S. governors, including Gov. Paul LePage, responded earlier this week by standing up to Obama and refusing to accept Syrian refugees until the common-sense mechanisms are in place to properly screen Syrian refugees. Their collective opposition is intended to safeguard the public from future domestic terrorism risks and preserve national security interests. Based on the Paris attacks, there is a clear policy failure concerning the vetting of Syrian refugees amongst NATO countries, which has motivated their drastic response.

The intelligence community has feared for months that members of ISIS are trying to mask themselves as refugees to enter other countries, specifically to terrorize innocent civilians and carry out their radical violence. Additionally, a Homeland Security official said in September that the United States doesn’t have the capability of vetting 10,000 refugees. But, despite the facts and potential risks at play, we must take in these refugees simply because our president said so.

Everyone understands that the vast majority of these refugees are legitimate and non-violent, fleeing Syria to avoid the same violence that was on display in Paris last week. We know that most of the assailants of the Paris attacks weren’t from Syria. It’s also not the fault of refugees that ISIS militants are disguising themselves to wreak havoc on the rest of the world. But, when real security threats are exposed after incidents like the Paris attacks, you have to use your head for something other than a hat rack.

All it would take is one radical, phony refugee in America to mimic the Paris attacks, and when top intelligence officials are telling us that we can’t appropriately handle 10,000 refugees, it’s probably not a good idea to pretend that a legitimate threat doesn’t exist.

And so liberals have taken to social media, condemning conservatives for their “racist” and “bigoted” responses to the Syrian refugee crisis by relating their words to the sentiment felt in the World War II era, when masses of Jewish refugees fled to the United States to escape Nazi Germany. But, not a single governor has categorized these refugees based on their religious beliefs or racial backgrounds – not in any of their opposition letters to Obama, or in any of the executive orders they’ve signed this week. All they have done is merely pointed out the facts – that the United States does not currently have the capability to ensure that every refugee we take in is non-violent and non-ISIS affiliated.

Additionally, the harsh truth of the matter is that the only parallel in their script comparing Syrians to the Jewish refugees is that both events were massive migratory refugee movements – Nazi’s weren’t disguising themselves as Jewish refugees to suicide bomb soccer games or shoot up concert halls.

As a U.S. Governor, your primary duty is to protect the citizens you serve. Are the governors’ responses bigoted examples of Islamaphobia like the liberals say, or conscious analytical critiques to the president’s immigration policies? Even though they don’t have the legal authority to prevent refugee settlement in their states, I applaud Gov. LePage and his 29 colleagues for putting the safety of their citizens ahead of the emotional rhetoric liberals have used to shame conservatives for their opposition.

When the time is right, America will offer the help it always has for these Syrian refugees, but there are a plethora of policy concerns that need to be addressed before we take the next step.

About Jacob Posik

Jacob Posik, of Turner, is the director of communications at The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) and the editor of The Maine Wire. He formerly served as a policy analyst at MHPC. Posik can be reached at jposik@mainepolicy.org.

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