Let The Fear Mongering Begin! States Ban Syrian Refugees (TWEETS)
8 state governors fear mongering against Syrian refugees and counting.
States are rushing to ban Syrian refugees from their borders, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. When I went to bed on Sunday night, two governors had made the fear mongering announcement that no Syrians would be allowed into their states. By the time I got up Monday morning, the number had grown to eight — and it’s not likely to stop there.
Some of the most xenophobic (afraid of anyone who’s not them — I looked it up) places in the country are among the eight, of course. The tidal wave began with Alabama — which hasn’t accepted any Syrian refugees anyway, and Michigan — which often seems horrified to realize that the towns of Dearborn and Hamtramck contain some of the largest Middle Eastern populations in the country.
That fact led Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to brag, just two weeks ago:
“I believe I’m the most pro-immigration governor in the country.”
How quickly the worm has turned!
As of this writing, the governors of Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Texas, and Arkansas have all piled on the “no Syrian refugees” bandwagon, for a total of eight. But the number is mushrooming so fast, it may be outdated by the time I get to the end of this article.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s executive order was especially provocative. In it, he wrote:
“All departments, budget units, agencies, offices, entities, and officers of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana are authorized and directed to utilize all lawful means to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the State of Louisiana while this Order is in effect.
“The Louisiana State Police, upon receiving information of a Syrian refugee already relocated within the State of Louisiana, are authorized and directed to utilize all lawful means to monitor and avert threats within the State of Louisiana.”
Because he can’t distinguish between an oppressed and beleaguered people who are seeking safety and terrorists wearing suicide vests. However, that difficulty would be why the United States vets Syrian refugees for at least 18 to 24 months . Buzzfeed laid out the screening process that Syrian refugees must go through here.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama that stated:
“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being resettled in Texas.
“Effective today, I am directing the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of Texas. And I urge you, as President, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States.”
NO Syrians. ANYWHERE in the United States. Way to go over the top, Abbott. But then, Texas takes pride in always doing things in a bigger way than any other state.
President Obama, who is in Turkey to attend the Group of 20 summit, quickly made a statement to put the situation in perspective:
“We… have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves. That’s what they’re fleeing. Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.”
the u.S. has a special obligation to care for syrian refugees
However, the President’s word don’t address another vital issue — namely, that the United States is largely responsible for creating the mess in Syria. Elisabeth Parker of Reverb Press laid out the background of the conflict in an article Monday titled “How U.S. Foreign Policy created ISIS and the Syrian Refugee Crisis: In 5 Minutes (VIDEO).”
Since 2011, 250,000 people have died as a result of the war in Syria. The number of dead is greater than or equal to the population of Birmingham, Alabama, or Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or Laredo, Texas. Thousands and thousands of people who are just gone. Annihilated.
Over 4 million Syrians have fled the country in terror. The numbers are staggering and the United States has a special responsibility to alleviate the suffering. Nevertheless, as a result of Paris, the suffering is bound to grow. This is hardly the time for our country to turn its back on average Syrian citizens who are no more culpable than, say, average American citizens.
The President’s words also don’t address the fact that the United States and its allies are ready to double down, to make the situation even worse by increasing our military response. We are going to continue making Syria uninhabitable for its people. The least — the very least — that we can do is offer them a safe haven.
And sure enough — just as I predicted — ABC News has tweeted that Florida has joined the mass fear mongering frenzy. The (also xenophobic state) banned Syrian refugees. Nine states … and counting.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 16, 2015
Luckily, plenty of people on Twitter disagree.
if not letting syrian refugees come here will somehow stop violence then we should also ban white boys from schools and movie theaters
— chi (@pressmorgan) November 16, 2015
american states ban syrian refugees because "terrorism", refuse to do anything about firearms access because domestic terrorism is fine
— Pumpkin Fright (@DrPizza) November 16, 2015
Shame on the GOP governors attempting to ban Syrian refugees; double shame on Jeb! and Cruz for pushing religious tests (!) for immigrants.
— Purple Tinker (@prpltnkr) November 16, 2015
How many of the people calling for their states to ban Syrian refugees describe themselves as pro-life?
— Allison Kilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) November 16, 2015
Featured photo via @ABC on Twitter.
UPDATE: As of Monday night, 25 governors, mostly Republican, have joined in the deluge to try to ban Syrian refugees from their states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
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Deborah Montesano is a writer and political activist, who has just been freed from decades of wandering in the Arizona desert. She is now stunned to find herself actually living in progressive heaven — Portland, Oregon. READ MORE BY DEBORAH.