Here's Why Pushing Pause on Accepting Refugees is a Good Idea
Author: Chris Johnson  
20170202
 

 

It’s a well known maxim that, “history is written by the victors.”

So only time will tell how later generations will feel about the 45th President of the United States and his executive order on refugees, but it will probably go one of two ways.

The best case scenario is that it is thought of as the beginning of a new age of peace in the United States, the end of an era shadowed by terrorist threats, when our government finally used common sense methods to deal with the threat of radical Islam.

The worst case scenario is that history remembers it the way that the news media and their newly minted warriors across the social networks are interpreting it: just the beginning of an administration elected by racists with the sole goal of ruining the lives of people who don’t look like him.

The truth, however, is that Trump’s executive order was not remarkable to either extreme, it was a pretty standard action undertaken by several recent presidents with little fanfare or outrage, including a comparable –though not identical – act by former President Obama during his last week in office.  Obama cancelled the decade’s long refugee policy toward Cubans seeking asylum from their (still) communist government, while still allowing immigration through normal channels.

Still more relatable to President Trump’s order, President Obama halted immigration from Iraq for 6 months in 2011, and indeed, the 7 nations affected by Trump’s order are not listed in the order itself. The order instead cites the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, a bill restricting (not banning) travel from those countries signed by none other than Barack Obama.

As Trump uses Obama’s own criteria for who exactly will be restricted from coming into the country, the hypocrisy of Obama’s statement on the issue is stunning.Referring to Trump’s order, Obama, “condemns discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

Truthfully, for all the melodramatic web-denizens anxious to retweet the hashtag du jour, there is no Muslim ban.  As has been widely reported, there are over 40 majority Muslim countries, and only these seven are affected by the order.  There is a ban on immigration for residents of seven nations which Barack Obama listed as “of particular concern.”

So if we’ve established that the idea of this being a “Muslim Ban” is at least silliness, if not an outright lie, let’s talk about why it’s a good idea.

In 2014, The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies conducted the largest ever public opinion poll in the Arab region, sampling the opinions of 600 respondents throughout Arabic countries.

The study asked a number of interesting questions, but for our purposes, let’s just look at one question and how one region answered.

Here’s the question: “In general, do you have a positive or negative view of ISIL?”

And let’s just look at how Syrian refugees answered. Of course, the vast majority of the refugees had a negative view of what we call ISIS. Don’t walk away with the assumption that all of the people streaming out of that devastated, war torn country just want to come here to destroy ours as well. These are real people with very real problems, who really deserve our compassion.

The problem is that only 73% of those refugees had a decidedly negative view regarding ISIS. 10% had a “negative to some extent” response, 4% either didn’t know how they felt about it or refused to answer, 9% had a “positive to some extent” reaction, and 4% had a positive view of ISIS. So a quarter of Syrian refugees fleeing a crisis caused, in part, by ISIS cannot whole heartedly denounce the terrorist organization.

Is it not worth ensuring that 25% of the refugees we invite in to our nation to buy homes and work alongside of our families are not influenced by or sympathetic to the principles of our most evident threat?

Both Trump’s pause on immigration and Obama’s before him should be common sense, necessary actions as leadership finds the best way to ensure we aren’t allowing extremists (or extremist sympathizers) into our country.

One complaint regarding the executive order does hold up to scrutiny.

The president should have first consulted with the heads of the agencies which will enact the order.

The conservative new source, the Washington Examiner, explains, “While executive orders have the president's signature, and no secretary, chief of staff, or bureaucrat can contravene his will, there is still a proper process of making these orders. Custom, legal rulings and statute have shaped this process.

A president will typically consult the relevant agencies while crafting an order. For instance, border patrol officials will know far better than the White House what sort of enforcement is plausible, intrusive, time-consuming, or effective. The State Department will know details about different types of visas, different classes of visitors to the country, and different types of threats from different countries.

The Justice Department can provide not only expert input on law enforcement, but also everyday lawyerliness. DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel typically vets every executive order in the same way a company's general counsel might vet corporate documents.

Trump seems to have skipped consultation with relevant agencies and may have skipped over consultation even with the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel).”

Even Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, claims he was left out of the loop until just before the decision was announced.

Conservative Christians have been encouraged that President Trump has surrounded himself with many wise, conservative people. Let’s pray this event is not a signal that the new president will fail to consult the wise people he’s surrounded himself with.

In spite of this misstep, this temporary policy is a good thing, and while Trump’s supposed nefarious motivations have been covered ad nauseam, his statement defending the policy and accentuating his true motivation has received little publication.

It’s included below and it speaks for itself.

“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”


Pray for our nation.

We would also cherish your prayers for our upcoming event on February 3, 2017 at the American Decency offices located at 203 E. Main St. in Fremont, Michigan. International speaker, Dr. Joel Beeke, will be bringing the message:“Needed: Genuine Prayer and Repentance” at 7:00 PM.

The greatest danger to America is a lack of true repentance; hence, this is also our greatest need. If we ever hope to be the UNITED States of America again, we must become “one nation under God” again. It’s only there—under God—that we will find true peace, contentment, and blessing once more. We NEED revival; we NEED repentance. We NEED God!

Please pray for this event. Join us in prayer for this nation and join us on February 3, 2017 at 7:00 PM.


 

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