A little common sense please. Trump has simply given his response to a problem that the entire world is facing, and that has not had an effective or even sensible reply until now. It may be that his approach will not represent the solution to the Islamic attack on the West.
But at least there won’t any longer be either silence or neglect about an issue that has not only seen thousands of people killed by Islamic terrorists, but has also made daily life very difficult throughout many of the West’s major cities. It’s a rocky road to tread because every time the subject is addressed we would like to hide rather than to provoke the suffering of the innocent immigrants involved, but it’s simply a duty to find the courage to do it.
There are and were good reasons for some of the criticisms to Donald Trump’s “executive order” on January 27th that suspends the unlimited admission of Syrian refugees and halts the immigration of six other Islamic countries for 90 days: in fact, already on Sunday, Trump restored the right to use the “green card.” Also, he will have to return on the issue of religious minorities, because even if he prefers immigrants who are Christians, there are Sunnis and Shiites who, in those Muslims countries, have been and/or are implicated in battles or even wars alongside the Americans.
The tone, however, is given by the media dominated by the radical chic journalists and politicians: they imagine that Trump will bury the “America that we love”, its legendary melting pot, in order to unearth the defamatory K of the ’60ies (many do not know how much that K hurts the American soul). This brings to say a lot of nonsense: for example, to compare today’s immigration with that of the Jews who came from Europe in the 20th century… apart from the fact that even that immigration was thoroughly monitored also after the Shoah (there were committees in Europe that examined each case), there has never been a danger of Jewish terrorist attacks.
Today, the danger Trump is speaking about, exists and we can’t deny it and it’s simply blind to write, as has been done, that there haven’t been any terrorist attacks post 9/11 by people from the countries in Trump’s immigration ban, and that the U.S. president and his policy are simply racist … in short, a lot of bunk since it’s a historical fact that anyone who has immigrated to the US has always been vetted, the nightmare of being stopped at Ellis Island appears in dozens of Hollywood movies, the blocks conducted by the various administrations are constant, except when Obama increased the Muslim immigrants entries, while those of Christians were paradoxically very few: in 2016, 99.1 percent of refugees entering the U.S. were Muslims, and only 0.5 percent were Christian, while 0.8 percent were Yazidis, too little compared to the massacres currently underway.
However, from July 2011, Obama blocked the entry of this or that political group on six different occasions; Jimmy Carter revoked the visas of Iranians; laws that allow presidents to control immigration specifically cite the concern of religious persecution, and frankly it’s amazing that Obama has left Christians and Yazidis aside. Where was the liberal press then?
Trump has put a cap of 50,000 refugees after his 120 days of total stop. These numbers are not so far from the regular national averages, writes David French in The National Review. Trump’s 50,000 stands roughly in between a typical year of refugee admissions in George W. Bush’s two terms and one of Obama’s . There were less than 50,000 until 2007, and then from 2013 to 2015 they were 70,000.
As for the Syrians, Obama let in an average of 305 refugees from 2011 to 2015. Then, in 2015, he abandoned a promise to intervene if Bashar Assad passed the red line by using chemical gas. Later, however, he reversed his policy vis-à-vis Syrian refugees and decided to admit more than 13,000 in 2016 as the Syrian Civil War ensued; perhaps he did so out of sense of guilt.
The six countries put on the list have all either been torn apart by jihadist violence or are controlled by hostile, jihadist governments. However, American laws may, on a case-by-case basis, or when in the interest of national security, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked, and exceptions can be made, says French, even during the 90-day period.
French maintains that we can read and reread Trump’s executive order, and won’t find any hint of religion that goes beyond the immigration law which defines a refugee as “any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality… and who is unable or unwilling to return because of persecution on account of (among other things) religion.” And it is logical that this is the case without it implying any racist intent against Islam. Or isn’t it?
Translation by Amy K. Rosenthal
This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (January 31, 2017)