jblum (jblum) wrote,

On refugees

Well, I went off on one. Below are my thoughts responding to a couple of people in a college friend's Facebook entry, who were knee-jerking about Syrian refugees. Slightly edited for coherence.

For context, one person said "Assume 1% of these refugees has lepresee (sic) and we'll see a different response on whether they accept them without qualification into their own homes", while the other said " It doesn't say 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,your suicide bombers '. ISIS has already stated the goal of infiltrating the refugees. How stupid are we?"

To the latter, I said:

ISIS has *also* stated the goal of making the West paranoid about Muslims, so that moderate Muslims will be driven into their arms. If you're doing their work for them, by choosing to turn away 10,000 innocents in case one of them is guilty -- *thus creating 10,000 more people likely to look unkindly on the US* -- you're right, how stupid *are* you?

And to the former, I said:

Leprosy? *Seriously*?

Putting aside for a moment that you've leapt right to the ancient racist stereotypes of disease-ridden swarthy foreigners, for a hypothetical that isn't in any way realistic... This is exactly what we have procedures in place for. We have medical screenings just like we have extensive biometric ID and background checks, precisely to weed out these sorts of problems. (We already have an elaborate 18-month vetting program in place for refugees, even before any of this.)

If our health care system -- which the Obamacare-bashers kept insisting was already the envy of the world, remember -- successfully managed to contain cases of freaking *Ebola* within our borders, what makes you think that we couldn't cope with a few sick immigrants?

Quite frankly, this is pure fearmongering, and embarrassing to hear from an American.

Ah, but the screening's not *perfect*, right? There's still a chance a bad guy could slip through?

Well... welcome to the real world.

You are never going to get 100% perfect secure *anything* in this world.

The question you should be asking is -- is it worth the risk?

And I say ABSOLUTELY yes. This is not just a security issue, it's a MORAL one. It's a matter of how many people are going to suffer and die if we *don't* act. There is way more important stuff going on in this world than just risk to ourselves.

Seems to me, the folks hitting the "make America great again" button are consistently refusing to *act* great -- which would be, by displaying compassion, and refusing to mistreat innocent people out of fear. Rather than claiming it's better to let thousands of innocents suffer just in case there's a bad guy among them, on a guilty-until-proven-innocent basis.

The fearmongers here seem to have this vision of America as a sort of cardboard box fort, which we can climb inside and shut the lid, thinking everything will be okay if we just manage to keep all the bad people out... I've got news for you. Bad people have always been here. When you're living in a country which has managed TEN Paris attacks worth of deaths already this year just from home-grown mass shooters, when you've got good ole boys bombing a Walmart to protest them not selling Confederate flags any more -- the idea that you will make life in Fortress America significantly safer by refusing to even *consider* helping anyone from outside belongs in fantasyland.

Yes, we should take extensive, sensible precautions. Yes, we keep ourselves safe.

We do *not* do it at the cost of our souls.

And if you're shying away from taking ANY risk to help the masses of needy? The question to ask is not "how stupid are we", it's, how much of a fucking COWARD are we?
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