The Refugee Policy Stinks!

January 29, 2017

The Refugee Policy Stinks!

I’ve been quiet here for more than three weeks, if you ignore recycled posts from my childhood and six years ago. Lots of life, for better and not so much, and I’ve been wrestling hard with finding my voice. Socia l media abounds with sound and fury. Before I added to the mix, I wanted to be sure I could be significant.

Whither, the refugee policy aka travel ban aka a solution in search of a problem. Contrary to candidate Donald Trump’s lies, we don’t have a terror problem in the United States. We don’t! Here’s a fact sheet from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. (Between 1995 and 2014 3264 people lost their lives on U.S. soil on account of terror attacks. On 9-11 3003 of those death occurred.)

So, over 20 years, in a nation with more than 300 million people and more than 2,000,000 deaths every year, 163 people per year die on account of terror operations. (The 9-11 deaths skew the data badly. Leaving out 9-11, 13 people die each year.) 87 people die each year from bathtub drownings. 51 people die from lightning strikes. Etc., and you get the picture.

Can we make national policy on account of deaths more random than deaths caused by lightning? Sure. Should we? The answer ought to be evident, but it’s not. “Even one death is too many,” says one friend of mine. “We need to make a statement,” say others. Finally, I hear a decent amount of “we need to take care of our own first.”

Well, good on all of you, for staying focused on what matters not at all. To my “one death-er” friend, I never hear you talking about how preventing even one citizen from voting should never happen. Or, about how even one gunshot death—there are roughly 30,000 per year, and have been for decades—is one death too many. Etc.

As for statements, we got some on Mexico this past week. They’ll put us back in the ditch we spent eight years climbing out of before President Trump reads his first book. Sometimes, thinking before you speak tweet works.

And what about taking care of our own? Trillions for tax cuts. Check. Billions to pay for a wall. Check, and the Mexicans will pay anyway. Money to help relocate people from war zones, because we don’t approve of their religion. No money!

Xenophobia tars this entire escapade. There is no evidence that we did not have a solid, functioning refugee program prior to noon on January 20. Campaigns run on claimed governmental inefficiencies, for sure, but we have always elected people who were smart enough to look first and act later. (More tartly, prior presidents did not believe their own BS, mostly.) No longer, and xenophobia provides the only evident rationale for the Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States Executive Order.

Two more thoughts. First, I have Jewish friends who support Trump, and this action. To you all I say: If you really think they won’t be looking for us, get over yourselves. Thousands of years of recorded history tell me we’re always on the hit list. The Germans slaughtered us. The Spanish sent us packing. And that’s only in the past 525 years. So why, pray, do you really believe it can’t happen here? And, please, spare us the silliness about the Jewish son-in-law.

Second, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen—committed POTUS watchers—wrote The Trump Bulldozer today. In it they command us to “try to block out the white noise of outlandish statements and unforced errors, and the hyperventilating they provoke,” to focus on “the big—and in some cases, radical—changes coming our way.” So, here, we have a refugee policy which repeats our decision not to accept Jewish refugees in 1939. (By the way, the Executive Order issued on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.) But, odious as the refugee policy is, it’s less bad than the fact that the Administration may be ignoring court orders which stay enforcement of the Executive Order. Stay tuned! In the meantime, does anyone really believe the Trump Administration will abide by court orders which prevent the president from doing what he wants to do?

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