At the outset, let me say that I’m not fully committed to the no-Syrian-refugees position, either on a temporary or permanent basis. However, there’s something suspicious in the quick progressive push-back against concerns about the process. For some, it’s simply a partisan position. For others, it’s the progressive foible of the total domination of feelings and simplified morality: Refusing people who are fleeing danger is bad, and I’m not bad, so therefore any resistance to this specific refugee process, performed by this specific presidential administration, is immoral.
When it comes down to it, very few of the people raising concerns about Syrian refugees are absolutists. Letting in two-year-old Christians, for example, would not meet much, if any resistance. In other words, while one side is arguing principle, the other is arguing process.
I bring the issue up again because a Facebook thread initiated by Matt Fecteau includes a link to a White House infographic about the refugee-acceptance process, and reading through it reinforces concerns about the process. Fecteau repeatedly insists that the burden completely falls on the candidate for refugee status, but that’s really not what the steps illustrate. Sure, they can’t withhold information that they have (and get caught), but it’s entirely a process of checking the information that’s available. In a war-torn country (that wasn’t exactly First World to begin with), that’s a risky proposition.
The steps rely almost entirely on the records of the United States, or those to which it has access, which might weed out the upper tiers of those involved in global jihad, but certainly not all those who are just sympathizers or who have simply not done anything, yet. Moreover, there’s no indication of risk for potentially risky refugees if they are caught.
The most important point, however, continues to be the lack of trust that the Obama Administration has earned. The refugee process puts the burden on a bureaucracy under a petulant, ideological executive, and that executive has decreed that he wants 10,000 people pushed through this system in the next year.
The fact that so many people are responding to concerns about this matter with accusations of bigotry is a sign both that there’s even more reason to fear that the process won’t be well executed and that our society has a serious cultural illness.