- · Our own self-interests
- · Our nation’s self-interests
- · God’s teachings
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Executive Order - Justice? Home of the Brave?
Malala, the girl who won the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17 after an attempted assassination by Islamist terrorists, spoke out against Mr. Trump’s Executive Order. I immediately donated money (again) to The Malala Fund (https://malala.org) because I agree with her views about refugees, loved her book, her fund fights for the education of girls, and because I disagree with our president’s refugee ban.
First, the ban is probably unconstitutional and simply caters to the illusion of security. Why? The people involved in the 9/1 attack were from or sponsored by Saudi Arabia and that country is notably absent from the list of countries included in the ban.
Second, Israel, who has much to fear from Arabs, is horrified by Mr. Trump’s Executive Order.
Third, the U.S. does not accept many refugees from those countries. This Executive Order is theater.
Americans think that we accept a lot of refugees and are a beacon to the world. The number of refugees we accept is embarrassingly small and the percentage of world refugees we accept (based on either our population, economy, or land mass) is morally offensive.
Have we forgotten why there are laws to protect refugees? This might be what Israel is asking. We (and all civilized nations) enacted these laws after the world-shame when we viewed hard evidence of the results of not protecting refugees – the Nazi death camps.
Here is a little bit of our history that is not taught in our schools.
On 13 May 1939, more than 900 Jews fled Germany aboard a luxury cruise liner, the SS St Louis. They hoped to reach Cuba and then travel to the US - but were turned away and forced to return to Europe. This was the time of the Nazi Death Camps. Hitler’s propaganda in the United States and elsewhere worked. We were, after all, a Christian country. Jews would not assimilate, they looked different, the dressed different and, we were told, sacrificed Christian babies in secret ceremonies. We were told that the Jews were the reason for the problems in the world.
Today, the United States and the nations of Europe offer protection to refugees. Although they can apply to be accepted as refugees and wait for decades in refugee camps. This orderly process is what ‘we’ prefer, although they may wait for decades before being approved.
Our laws, the laws of individual European countries, the laws of the EU and International Protocols also guarantee that if a person is on a country’s soil (regardless of how they came to be on that soil) that they can apply for refugee status. If their claim seems likely to be valid, they may legally remain on that country’s soil until their claim is adjudicated. They cannot, under our own laws and international protocols, be forced to leave our country unless they commit specific crimes or the courts deny their refugee petition.
In simple terms: once on our nation’s soil, refugees cannot be forced to leave unless they commit a serious crime or the court rules against them. Period.
However, the president has authority to use a proclamation to suspend the entry of “any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States [who] would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,” for however long he deems necessary. This provision was included in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. But, many Constitutional scholars agree that President Trump’s Executive Order will likely prove to be unconstitutional.
At the end of the day, each of us decides what is just. Many of us believe that our decisions should not be based on unreasonable fear but upon:
I did not number these beliefs. You put them in the order of how you define your own life.
Your position about our president’s order is as worthy as anyone else’s position if your reasoning is sound. Here are some facts that I am sure you considered.
Refugees are defined under international law as being outside their home country and having a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. (Poverty and wealth does not matter).
Regardless of how a refugee come to be on our soil, they cannot, under our own laws, be forced to leave if they do not break our laws or engage in specific plots against our nation.
About half of our refugees are Christian. The remainder are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, other faiths, atheists, and agnostics.
How many refugees?
When considering the GDP and percentage of total population, the graphs are too embarrassing to depict.
The United States should be proud of the fact that we provide more financial aid to refugees around the world than any other nation. We also permit our refugees freedom to live and work where they please. However, that also means that our dismal record of accepting refugees dooms millions to live for decades in refugee camps in countries that deny them the opportunity for jobs or real freedom.
What does the world want of its refugees?
The ‘good’ answer, the logical answer, is that the world wants its refugees to be able to return home. If that is not possible, the world wants its refugees to be good citizens that care for their own needs. At least this is what most people say they want. However, they are like the man who says that he wants to lose weight and be in great shape and that he would do anything, except diet and exercise, to achieve that want. Actions can predict the likely results. If the man eats like a pig and never exercises, we can make some safe predictions. The same is true in the way we treat refugees.
What would we expect to happen if refugees are forbidden to work, dumped in a ghetto, not offered job training and education? In the largest refugee camps, entire generations of refugees are raised to learn how to stand in line for aid and there are almost no schools.
I love my nation and believe that we are a part of a very small number of countries that can offer the best opportunities for people fleeing for their lives. The land of the free and the home of the brave. When did we become so damn afraid of everything? We panicked after Pearl Harbor and rounded up U.S. citizens who were Japanese. We look at those internment camps and are embarrassed and wish we could do that part of our history over. Today, we allow politicians and the media to panic us again.