Stupid from Governor Rick Snyder

November 20, 2015

I’m busy writing my lengthy piece about last Friday evening in Paris and its aftermath. I need to digress, however, to challenge some serious stupid coming from Governor Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)

Steve Inskeep interviewed Governor  Snyder today. Here’s the link. Michigan has the country’s largest Arab-American population, excluding California. Governor Snyder was advocating for accepting refugees, until last Friday. And after the attack? He was first in line to say: ”Not now.”

So why stupid? Three reasons, beginning with the response to Steve Inskeep’s first question.

INSKEEP: What concerns you, if anything, about the security check that’s currently in place that takes almost two years in many cases, that involve the National Counterterrorism Center and other agencies?

SNYDER: Well, I wouldn’t single out any specific problem I have with it. But when you have these events, doesn’t it make sense you should pause and simply say, let’s continue looking at these events? And I really want the federal government to come back and say, you know, we have now made a review of these at least three situations and believe their current system is acceptable or not or that they’re making some modifications. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing. I view that as pretty good old-fashioned common sense, you know, being careful and at the same time trying to be proactive.

How, I wonder, does the governor know the federal government is not “looking at these events” and making a review, as he puts it? I cannot imagine our national security team has not looked at the situation. Since 9/11 there have been no terror events within our borders. (Truth be told, I think 30 gun murders per day in the U.S. are pretty terrifying, but I’m guessing Governor Snyder has his Second Amendment, don’t change the subject answer down pat.)

Things get worse. Here’s the next exchange:

INSKEEP: There are people who come to the United States on tourist visas. There are people who don’t even need visas to enter the United States from Western Europe, which is the point of origin for some of the Paris attackers for example. Would you also pause the other ways that people can enter the United States?

SNYDER: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily do that. But again, this is a particular case of this refugee process that there’s a heightened degree of concern. I heard that from our citizens. And this is a case where I think there’s a lot of concern in the general public. And actually, I believe this review process could give people more comfort that the right things were being done as opposed to just simply ignoring these terrible incidents around the world. Isn’t it better to say we’re being cognizant of it? We’re recognizing they’re things that need to be reviewed and considered and after that review and consideration, if they come out and say we believe they have the right process, then we can instill more confidence in our citizens to make it a more accepting process for refugees.

No, no, no, Governor Snyder doesn’t want to stop letting in people who haven’t been screened for two years, etc. People entering on education and travel visas—like the 9-11 crew, who were here on expired visas—are welcome, with no pause. Why? As Deep Throat said, “follow the money.” Making it hard for people to enter our country costs money, both to screen lots more people, and because many people will opt for other vacation destinations, shrinking our tourism industry.

Then it really goes downhill.

INSKEEP: So suppose President Obama picked up the phone and called you this evening and said, Governor, I heard about your concern, we looked into it and it turns out we do have a strong review process. It takes up to a couple of years and we think it’s good. Would you be satisfied?

SNYDER: That would be helpful. I would have to say what’s going on in the actual conversation. But I put that out on the table to begin with. I actually wrote a letter – I think it was on Monday – to Secretary of State Kerry, and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, basically asking for that, asking that the review be made and please respond to my letter, that you’re confident we have the appropriate practices in place. So I’m hopefully going to get a response to the letter I sent them.

So, if President Obama would extend me the courtesy of a phone call, I might be down with this. Really?

There’s a lot of silly going on. Buck up, people. Something bad might happen, for sure, and if we want to fix something, the visa program might be a good starting place. That said, let’s have a little faith in the government which has kept us safe from foreign terrorists for more than 14 years.

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