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Politics Why limit refugees?

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by genuinemommy, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    Am I the only idealist in America who feels we should fully open our borders and hand everyone a green card?
    Seriously, why not welcome everyone already?
    Most people aren't terrorists.
    Most people just want their families to have the best shot at a future.

    Help me wrap my mind around the xenophobia.
  2. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    I think there is an intermediate step between xenophobic bigoted "let's build a wall to keep out all them brown SOBs" and simply opening the borders to unrestricted inflow.

    Practically speaking, we cannot simply throw open the borders to all and sundry, even if we eliminate security as a concern. The sudden tidal wave of immigration would be untenable. Our social welfare systems are an overtaxed shambles even to serve the people already here as citizens and legal residents (and sometimes as illegal immigrants as well). Unless you are proposing that we allow in anyone but offer them no assistance, facilitation, or guidance of any kind-- which also seems problematic, in that it seems likely to engender a massive number of immigrants who are homeless or living in execrable conditions, and are all too ripe for exploitation of any number of kinds. Unrestricted immigration as our current systems are would result in a nightmare of poverty, homelessness, exploitation, and who knows what else. It is a recipe for disaster, both economic and humanitarian.

    Part of reforming our immigration system has to include-- early on-- reforming and repairing our social welfare systems and other kinds of infrastructure, both social/governmental and physical. It has to include improving minimum wage laws to be living wage laws, regulating the housing market to ensure fair prices and availability of decently maintained homes to those who need them, and a massive stimulation and reformation of public schools and community colleges (and laws and regulations pertaining to education) in order to provide quality education and training to everyone.

    I absolutely do believe that we need to increase substantially the number of immigrants accepted into the US every year, especially refugees and seekers of asylum. We need to greatly expand, abbreviate, and accelerate programs to vet refugees and asylum seekers, and we need to broaden the categories of those who are guaranteed asylum. We especially need to trim from these programs the racism and cultural ignorance and bias that tends to plague them.

    Substantially increasing the number of immigrants accepted into the US, however, will cost quite a lot of money to facilitate. I certainly believe it would be money well spent, and I am in favor of finding that money, but we do need to realize that finding it will require solutions that are likely to be difficult to enact.
    Some possible revenue sources to fund these endeavors might include:
    1. Cutting the Defense budget. It is grossly overswollen, full of pork, rife with white elephant projects, and often full of "Potemkin village" items that are stand-ins for "black" projects. It could (and should) be streamlined, given over to outside oversight, and cut by at least 30%, which would free up an enormous sum of money for any number of worthy needs and causes. However, considering how many politicians are owned at least in part by the Military-Industrial Complex, it is highly unlikely that any cuts of significance (much less real streamlining and reform) will take place any time soon.
    2. Legalize and tax at least some drugs. If we legalized marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and a handful of other common drugs (ecstasy, speed, acid, etc.) and taxed them, even considering the cost of setting up regulatory agencies (or subagencies) and so on, we would still save gigantic sums on enforcement, prosecution, prison, and so on. We would deal massive blows to international drug cartels, reducing crime even further. And we would have a massive new source of revenue. Lower the drinking age to 18, and make that the legal age for drugs as well. More revenue. This solution is likely to be met with vigorous opposition both from right-wing conservatives who enjoy perpetuating a face of puritanism (usually while they enjoy illegal activities in private), and from some center-left activists who may argue issues of health or other social welfare concerns (unfounded, IMO, but such opinions exist).
    3. Legalize, regulate, and tax other "vice" crimes. A nationwide legalization, regulation, and taxation of prostitution would not only generate massive revenues, but would offer an excellent opportunity to better control illegal trafficking and ensure that sex workers were not being compelled to prostitute themselves unwillingly or otherwise abused by customers or pimps. Again, money saved on enforcement, prosecution, prison, etc., plus new revenues. A similar legalization of gambling could also generate massive revenues and savings of a similar nature. This solution is likely to meet most of the same sorts of opposition as the previous suggestion.
    4. Close corporate tax loopholes, and end government subsidies to oil, gas, and coal companies, and to agribusiness, and make all subsidies to pharmaceutical companies conditional on the equivalent amount being spent on developing vaccines, antibiotics and antivirals, and other basic health supporters that would have to be marketed as a generic at affordable rates. Tax bad corporate behavior: surtax on outsourcing too much labor or manufacturing overseas, etc. Vigorously enforce these policies. Increase fines for negligent environmental pollution, unfair labor practices, and systematized cheating of customers (a la Wells Fargo) until they are astronomically high, even by megacorporate standards. Vigorously enforce those policies. These things would absolutely result in a massive savings and massive intake of revenues, but they are inevitably going to be strongly opposed by all the politicians who are owned by major corporations, especially those losing huge subsidies. Highly unlikely to be passed.
    5. Increase the income tax on those making more than $10 million per year, back to pre-Nixon standards of 70-90%. Close loopholes. Tax capital gains for that tax bracket, and at a similar rate. Tax estates with assets over $50 million at 40-60%. Insert an immigration, infrastructure, and social services reform surtax on incomes over $500K, starting at 0.5%, 1% at $5M, 5% at 50 million, capping out at 10% at $100M and over. Vigorously enforce these policies. This would also generate massive revenues-- if not quite so much so as the previous ideas--Since politicians are rich, and are funded by the rich, this is deeply unlikely to be passed.

    So, while I'm totally in sympathy with your feeling, and I agree that much more must be done, it can't be as simple as just "fuck it, everyone in." There need to be services in place, and those services are going to cost money. Until we can resolve those issues, we can (and should) admit more refugees than we do, but not uncontrolled shoals of immigrants. We should totally resolve those issues, so we can admit massive numbers of new immigrants, and have a looser, saner immigration policy than at present. But it's going to be extraordinarily difficult to accomplish.
    • Like Like x 7
  3. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    What a well constructed and thoughtful response. Thank you!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    Rather than take a position on whether or not we should accept people, I'm going to talk about the issue a little more broadly to point out why it's not so simple as just "letting people in". Levite covered the logistical problems of integrating a massive flood of people who don't speak your language and probably don't have employable skills, but he didn't cover the cultural side of this.

    So before anything else out of about 100 polls by everyone from PEW to Al Jazeera the support for specific attacks/bombings and terrorist leaders is 20-25% on the low end in western countries. Belief that the world should be subjugated under Saudi/ISIS style religious law is around 50% or more on the low end in western countries. Go over to the arab world and those figures get a lot worse. In other words there are about 1.6 billion muslims in the world and over half of them want the world ruled by a fundamentalist caliphate, and about 375 million straight up support terrorist attacks like the 7/7 bombings and 9/11 plane hijackings. That's a population greater than the entire United States of America that openly believes in and supports mass murder in the name of spreading fundamentalist Islam.

    So while most people aren't terrorists themselves more than half of the people coming from the specific areas we're currently having a refugee flood from support terrorists and their goals. Which is why you see things like tens of thousands of jews fleeing europe in the wake of things like the Paris Kristallnacht, government ordered coverups of mass sexual assault which took place across europe, and of course the constant string of open source and organized terrorist attacks which have ranged from San Bernardino to Belgium to France.

    This isn't like accepting refugees fleeing the Nazis, this is like accepting Nazis fleeing the USSR advance and then saying we need to accept their "culture" of Nazism.

    Just because people are refugees doesn't make them good people. It doesn't make them any less extremist, or any less violent than the people they're fleeing. Al Qaeda and ISIS hate each other, that doesn't make Al Qaeda supporters good people who we should accept with open arms. The enemy of our enemy, or the victims of our enemy, is not always our friend. The problem is the entire western world is utterly besotted by the absurd belief that just because they think all muslims are "brown" they have to be noble and good victims of oppression who just need tolerance and acceptance. It's the bastard child of racism of low expectations and the white man's burden.

    The ugly truth is almost all of the refugees coming from the middle east have deeply held core beliefs which by western standards are utterly barbaric. And because of the difference between western culture and middle eastern honor culture they have absolutely no problem abusing western beliefs about social justice and multiculturalism to get away with shit like the Paris Kristallnacht or New Years Eve mass assaults. To an honor culture we're being weak and losing honor with the way we handle migrants and refugees from start to finish. Paradoxically to our expectations if the west were to forcefully demand migrants integrate, give up the antisemitism, and knock off the misconduct they'd actually respect us more.

    So is there a good answer to this? Egyptian refugee Hussein Aboubakr talks about the problem at length. Unfortunately the solution not one most people in the west are willing to accept. Not all cultures are equal. Not all cultures deserve respect. Sometimes some cultures are just backwards and barbaric, and people need to be told to knock it the fuck off.

    And until the western world is willing to take in arab and muslim refugees and integrate rather than enable them problems like the ethnic cleansing of Europe's jews are only going to get worse.
    • Like Like x 4
  5. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Unfortunately, the problem seems both ways.
    As noted above...
    We need to cleanup our act here.
    And they need to clean up there.

    It is not a black & white issue.

    It's going to an issue forever though.
    Because there will always resistance to change.
    Natives wanting to keep their privs and options to themselves.
    And a difficulty of logistics and resources.

    It has been this way for millennia, as people move in volume.


    One thing I do know, much of the rest of the world needs to stop scapegoating the US. Or using as a red herring.
    I've heard directly from quite a few visiting foreigners stating absurd things about the US and its goals.
    They need to start taking care of their own places and not believe decoy rumors to distract from their own issues.

    There would be a lot less risk to worry about if they didn't come thinking the US something has to blame.
    We're not at all perfect...but we're also not the megalomaniacs some portray the US to be.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Charlatan

    Charlatan sous les pav├ęs, la plage


    That's a pretty large brush you are painting with right there.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    Only if you completely ignore literally everything I said, the hundred or so polls by everyone from PEW to Al Jazeera, the open and naked teaching of everything from blood libel to the protocols of the elders of zion in every school and madrasa in the arab world... you know, every shred of evidence we have as opposed to the press releases of organizations founded by people who funnelled $12,000,000 to ISIS allied terrorist organizations.

    Then again that's what you do whenever we argue about feminism, and defending the arab/muslim world against any and all criticism is currently one of feminism's major crusades, to the point black arab women such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali have been ostracized and stripped of honors given them for daring to say things like I just did.

    This is exactly what I was talking about when I said...

    Then again we've done this before too. I'll say something, you ignore it and say something I've already directly (and usually very thoroughly) addressed, and then I just quote the part of my post you're ignoring right back at you.

    As I recall last time we played this game it devolved to the point you (and a few others) were literally responding to each other and accusing me of having said things you said, you literally ignored everything I said to such an extent that you couldn't even keep who said what straight and attacked me over something one of you had said.

    Tell me do you intend to derail and troll this thread that badly too?
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  8. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    Immigration reform and refugee resettlement are really two separate issues.

    Under current immigration laws, legal immigration is capped at less than 1 million/year for all categories of immigrants. Nearly two thirds of those persons granted permanent legal status to enter the country are based on having close relatives in the U.S., with the other third being employment based (for "skilled" workers) and the visa diversity program that promotes representative immigration from around the world.

    The employment based system and the diversity system are most in need of reform. Too often, loopholes in employment based immigration is not used to allow immigration for employment that cannot be met by US workers but rather to lower the payroll of many companies by allowing hiring immigrants at lower salaries. And, the visa diversity program is heavily titled toward western Europe as opposed to the rest of the world.

    The Refugee Resettlement Program is governed by a different law and has different guidelines and a much more comprehensive process for those persons facing political persecution at home or fleeing life threatening violence. Currently, the program is capped at less than 100,00 per year.

    This program has faced much more political backlash in recent days, largely due to attempts by those opposed to the program making comparisons to current refugee problems in Europe that resulted from the EU policy that allowed asylum seekers entry with little or no vetting. There is no comparison, the US refugee resettlement program is much more comprehensive in its screening and admission process.

    In most recent polls, most Americans do not agree with proposals to ban Muslims:

    CBS News/New York Times Poll. July 8-12, 2016.

    "Do you think the U.S. should temporarily ban Muslims from other countries from entering the United States, or not?"

    Should ban - 35%, Should not ban - 59%

    McClatchy-Marist Poll. July 5-9, 2016
    "Do you favor or oppose a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States?"

    Favor - 33%, Oppose - 63%

    Suffolk University/USA Today. June 26-29
    "Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants, and on immigrants from areas of the world with a history of terrorism. Do you support or oppose this idea?"

    Support - 41%, Oppose - 49%

    Quinnipiac University. June 21-27, 2016
    "Do you support or oppose temporarily banning Muslims who are not citizens from entering the U.S.?"

    Support - 40%, Oppose - 52%
    --- merged: Sep 26, 2016 1:14 PM ---
    Why the fear-mongering over this process?

    • Like Like x 4
  9. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Large City, TX
    Another excellent post, @Levite.

    For now I'm going mention one portion of it.

    I'll use pre-The Great Depression (TGD), 1929, as an arbitrary cut-off date for the Golden Age of Immigration in the U.S.

    The early immigrants didn't have the social programs introduced during TGD. They had to rely on themselves, family, & friends, and limited local assistance. Many had to work crap jobs for crap wages which meant living like rats. In brief, they sank or they swam.

    There are many people who don't think that we--the US and the royal we--automatically owe immigrants equal footing with US citizens. I'm not saying that thinking is completely fair, but OTOH there is something to the thought that "we" need to take care of our "own"--reform and repair the safety nets--before adding the weight of immigrants.


    I've seen many people "play the immigration game" to gain US citizenship. They follow all of the guidelines, while hiding the fact that in their home country they are UMC, or even wealthy. In fact, they have to have money to begin with just to successfully get out of their home country.

    An argument could be made that those are the immigrants we need because they have money, they won't strain the social programs for the needy. An argument could be made "the immigration game" keeps out those who would actually benefit from coming to the US.
  10. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Great pic @redux
    It's a good representation of the formal steps that are taken currently.

    However, two reality points...not in opposition, but just to consider into the issue. (and to discuss points others have made...)

    1. Execution of protocol is much more cumbersome and problematic in reality than what's down on paper.
    This is like the idea of cybersecurity...we've had the proper policies set up for years.
    But the logistics, resources and human element being given to it...and the emphasis and enforcement of it are another thing.
    The system is not set up adequately to handle such a large volume that occurs yearly and from so many points of entrance.
    People do not followup or follow-thru, mgmt does not allow actionable items to be done, monitoring does not get done consistently.
    So you get often what is effectively a "rubber-stamp" process.
    Much gets through the cracks...some come in when they shouldn't...others in a backlog, cannot and are held up.

    2. The US is much larger nation than Israel or other nations with greater security.
    It has more points of entry.
    It has more people trying to get in (and out)
    It is a nation that many desire to migrate to (or do business in, etc)

    This is the very REAL difficulty of being a nation that is free flowing, many borders and many want to do business in or come to for opportunity.
    The flux is much more extensive...and they are going to MANY more points in area.

    It's like saying I've got control of security of people going into a one-entry grocery store.
    versus dealing with the multiple points of entry for a rock concert in a stadium.
    versus controlling even a "targeted" large event.

    Wouldn't you think your policies would be different?
    Wouldn't you think your capability would be challenged?
    Wouldn't you think your issues would be magnified?

    This stuff is not magic, there is no "that was easy button"
    People want what they want...but they have no idea of the volume and complexity that is needed to execute for ALL of the US and points of interest.

    Actually, I think the US does pretty good considering...
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  11. wye

    wye Getting Tilted

    Beyond xenophobia, right-wingers may wish to refuse the entry of refugees because this behavior conforms with the "strict father" model of moral politics, which George Lakoff proposed as a unifying characteristic of the policies grouped under the conservative worldview.

    I looked through these citations and didn't find any polls that support this claim.

    Am I reading this right? How could support for Islamic law be at least 50% percent in Western countries when the proportion of Muslims in Western countries is nowhere near as high as 50%? Are you talking about support for Islamic law within the Muslim populations of Western countries? I doubt that's as high as 50% either. A quick Google search returns this on the matter, but if you can find contrary evidence anywhere else, feel free to post it.

    Again, the evidence that I have found clearly contradicts this. Please directly cite or I will assume you're making shite up.

    OK, now that you link some citations I can evaluate the strength of your evidence. The National Review is an ideologically conservative publication that promotes pseudoscience and denialism, has poor journalistic integrity, and is not a credible source. I have similar reservations about the Zionist think tank you link to after that. The Telegraph is openly conservative but not as flagrant as the National Review, and the Washington Post is more centrist. Despite all this, these articles don't support your odd claim in this paragraph that people who "aren't terrorists themselves" but ideologically condone terrorism are "why" terrorist attacks and sexual assaults have occurred.

    I prefer to avoid these kinds of comparisons because every situation is like another situation in some way and unlike it others, leading to trivial arguments over whether or not the similarities are more important than the differences. But I'll say here that, in regard to accepting refugees fleeing violence and hardship, accepting refugees of the Syrian civil war is like accepting refugees of World War II, and it's not like harboring Nazis (as some countries in South America did), because Nazis fled Europe to avoid being tried for war crimes, and suspected war criminals are not granted refugee status.

    I understand your comparison is instead based on the desirability of these groups. Your claim is that Syrian civil war refugees are less desirable than World War II refugees and are as undesirable as Nazis, yes? You make this claim on the basis of your unfounded assertion that a majority of Syrian refugees are violent right-wing authoritarians in the way that most Nazis were violent right-wing authoritarians. You're equivocating here, which is a fallacy of four terms, and you're ignoring that refugees of WWII likewise included people with ideologies considered undesirable, especially anarchism and communism.

    Being a "good person" isn't a requirement for being an American or to enjoy human rights. The US doesn't deny human rights to fundamentalist Christians who believe the US government should be a dominionist theocracy.

    Where are you getting this? Have you encountered some statement from an influential Western policy group that makes such an assertion of a person's character based on the color of their skin?

    This exceptionally bold claim places on you a burden of proof that impels you to cite a survey of refugees which substantiates this claim. Otherwise, I have no reason to believe that this "ugly truth" is true.

    How are you defining "Middle Eastern honor culture"? The closest concept I can find, "culture of honor", usually refers to a Western social phenomenon from the American South, which forbids insulting others on the pain of retributive justice.

    As you can learn by reading redux's graphic from the White House website, refugees are indeed compelled to integrate, achieve success in their new location, and, of course, to abide by US law.

    You honestly believe that the blood libel myth and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are taught in every school in the Arab world?

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali isn't Arab, and if you're referring to criticism over her more extreme standpoints such as urging Western nations to amend their constitutions to close Muslim schools merely on the basis of their religious affiliation, I'm not sure why you seem to be defending her.

    Are you still talking about Charlatan's post here? It seems to me that he reasonably pointed out that you have presented little basis for characterizing "almost all of the refugees coming from the Middle East" as anything other than just Muslim refugees. To convincingly claim that almost all "have deeply held core beliefs which by western standards are utterly barbaric" would require evidence from a survey of refugees: something that you haven't, to my knowledge, presented.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    Literally the very first link is a poll showing 20% of british muslims sympathized with the 7/7 bombers, and second immediately below it shows 1 in 4 muslims in britain supported the 7/7 bombings. The entire first section is labeled "Terrorism" and lists surveys showing support for terrorism and terrorist attacks.

    There are many more sections labelled for the specific terrorist organizations, leaders, or attacks examined by the surveys within that section.

    So right off the bat you have proven that you either literally did not so much as look at the very first thing in my list of nearly 100 citations and lied about having done so, or you did look and lied about what you saw.

    Given the extraordinarily prejudicial tone and disingenuous arguments used in the rest of your post, for example the following section in which you act as though you are so incapable of understanding basic english as to fail to grasp that I was referring to polls of the muslim population (ironic given your accusation later that I engage in a formal fallacy), I don't think the rest of your post even merits a response.

    If you'd like to try again without engaging in such absolutely obscene dishonesty as flat out lying from even the very first line in a list of nearly a hundred citations maybe I'll consider giving you a second chance. Until then your utterly bankrupt post puts you firmly in the "troll" camp. If you're going to stoop to that level of outright lies there's no point in conversing with you at all, you're so completely disconnected from reality you may as well be making up both sides of the conversation for yourself.

  13. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    I sincerely appreciate all of the time that has gone into each of these responses.
  14. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    Most Muslims, when emigrating to the US or Western Europe, do not want sharia law or strict Muslim laws applied; they want to assimilate while maintaining their religious beliefs. They overwhelmingly oppose ISIS and acts of terror.

    There is no "refugee flood" from Syria or the region into the US. There is a relatively small number (25,000 this year) that are subject to a comprehensive vetting process before being allowed to enter the U.S.

    And most refugees from Syria are women and children.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    And yet the evidence repeatedly and consistently shows otherwise.

    Your point? The San Bernardino shooter was radicalized by his wife. Women are not superior beings, they are not inherently more moral or less violent by virtue of their gender. If anything research shows in developing countries women tend to be more conservative than men, just like they historically were in the west.
  16. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    No, the evidence does not, particularly with Muslims in the U.S. This is from 2011:

    Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism.

    More recently: Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the World.

    You are taking one example and making gross and unsupportable stereotypes.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    The same set of data can be interpreted in wildly different fashions. Please don't tear each other down. I do appreciate that varying viewpoints are being presented in this discussion.
  18. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    The fact remains that if a person desires to enter the U.S. with an intent to commit an act of terrorism, the Refugee Resettlement Program would be the hardest way to accomplish that goal. The process takes months, often more than one year; the vetting is comprehensive and a process to follow or monitor that person after entering the country is in place.

    The issues in Europe (the massive influx of predominantly young males from Syria and the region and the subsequent violence) are a result of a failed EU immigration/asylum process that is in no way comparable to the process in the U.S.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
    • Like Like x 2
  19. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    Not that I disagree with your overall statements in the post I snipped from, nor that I agree with what Shadowex has been posting, but I could not find anything in the quote of his post you were referencing that is from a Zionist think tank. The only think tank he seems to have quoted is the Gatestone Institute, which is a conservative social policy think tank. None of its posted agenda issues involves Israel or Jews. A search on its website for keywords "Israel" and "Zionism" turned up zero results.

    May I ask why you characterize it as Zionist?
    • Like Like x 1
  20. wye

    wye Getting Tilted

    I not only did so much as look at the first citation, but, more importantly, I closely read the cited article, which states the following:

    This does not support your claim that "support for specific attacks/bombings and terrorist leaders is 20-25% on the low end in western countries."

    The second citation is of an editorial from the National Review Online which states:

    As for the source of this information, the article refers to a seemingly nonexistent "survey" from the about equally nonexistant "NOP Research". Being that, as I wrote in my previous post, the National Review is not a credible source, this statement is not admissible in support of your claim unless you can provide a credible firsthand source for this statistic.

    I didn't find any other polls in this list which substantiate your claim, but if you think you know of one that does, feel free to link it.

    I genuinely did not realize that you intended your remarks to refer to proportions of Muslim populations until I had finished writing the first two sentences of that paragraph. When it struck me that this might be the case, I wrote a third sentence asking you to clarify if it was. I don't see how this is either prejudiced or disingenuous.