I’ve said in this space a number of times that I think Europe is berserk for taking in so many refugees from the Middle East, and for two reasons: 1) they can’t do adequate screening to keep out jihadists, and more importantly, 2) there is no reason to think that they will be able to assimilate such a large number of Middle Eastern Muslims in such a short time; they are therefore creating conditions for homegrown terrorism in the future.
Despite Donald Trump’s berserk and malicious rhetoric, the U.S. is in a much different place. Do I think we have a right and a responsibility to question refugees from Syria who come here? Yes, I do. But we need to be reasonable about the answers. The Southern Baptist pastor Alan Cross, who works with refugees, explains why. He’s responding to the governor of his home state, Alabama. Excerpt:
First of all, the refugees that come to the United States through the Refugee Resettlement Program for are fleeing truly horrible conditions around the world. They have already been vetted by multiple U.S. agencies in refugee camps overseas in a variety of ways before they ever enter the United States. No visitor to the United States is more scrutinized than a refugee from a conflict zone. This process can take anywhere from over 6 months to a couple of years. If a terrorist wanted to enter the United States, going through the refugee resettlement process is absolutely the hardest way to do it. If we cannot trust the process by which the United States Government vets refugees fleeing violence and persecution, then we cannot trust any form of our border security or immigration or visa processes. Governor Bentley might as well say that he will not allow any foreign students, workers, or tourists to come in to Alabama from anywhere. Apparently, a good number of the Paris attackers were French and Belgian nationals. Will Governor Bentley next ban Muslim French nationals or Muslims coming from Belgium? Where does it end?
The US has had a much, much better record of assimilating Muslim immigrants than Europe has. We can afford to be far more generous in accepting refugees, without compromising our national security. We are only taking in 10,000 more than we normally do. More Cross:
The greatest danger to the people of Alabama is not a potential terrorist attack. The greatest danger, at this point, is the subverting of our faith in Christ and love for others to a mad rush of fear and blaming of victims who are actually running away from the same evil that we seek to protect ourselves from. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, not send him away with a door shut in his face. Right now, the Syrian refugees fleeing violence are our neighbors. The better way of Jesus calls us to open our arms to those who are legitimately in need while also driving a spike through the wheel of injustice and violence that would seek to do more harm to the innocent. Governor Bentley misses that point and lumps the innocent victims running away from violence and death in with their oppressors who are chasing them. Alabama should be better than this. We have thousands and thousands of churches and millions of self-professed Christians. Shutting the door to all Syrian refugees fleeing violence is not a Christian act. I pray that Governor Bentley relents and points to the better way of Jesus as he has tried to do on other issues.
Yes, Border Patrol agents just captured eight Syrians trying to cross the border into the US from Mexico. Good! We ought to be capturing illegal immigrants. But what do they have to do with the legal ones coming in through the refugee program?
Verify, but trust!