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November 24, 2015

Should we strike “home of the brave” from the national anthem?

Syrian refugees: Are we still the home of the brave? Retweet

Earlier this week, we argued that….

  • U.S. politicians (and voters) created the Syrian refugee crisis
  • Those who caused the crisis have a moral obligation to give sanctuary to the people they victimized — “You broke it, you bought it.”
  • No tax funding should be used for this purpose. Instead…
  • Congress should throw open the doors to voluntary contributions, allowing American citizens and charities to sponsor Syrian individuals and families.

We call this policy “Sanctuary yes, tax-funding no.” Today we’ll address two questions related to this policy. First…

Will taking in Syrian refugees increase the risk of terrorism?

A lot of people seem to think so, but this fear doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. Practically speaking…

  • No refugee has ever committed a terrorist attack in America (the Tsarnaev brothers, for instance, did not come through refugee program).
  • All previous attacks were committed by U.S. citizens or by people who came here with legal visas.
  • Keeping out refugees won’t keep out terrorists, anymore than walls and bars keep drugs out of our prisons.

Here’s the moral argument…

  • We wouldn’t imprison or deport you because someone on your block committed a crime. We wouldn’t even take your guns due to a gun crime. The same principle applies to the Syrian refugees. We don’t punish innocent people because of what bad people do.
  • All human rights are pre-constitutional and inalienable. Rights do NOT come from governments. Rights pre-exist governments. Rights stem from our humanity. This means that the Syrian refugees have the same right to the presumption of innocence that you do.

Basically, we need to choose principles over special pleading.

Here’s where the moral and the practical converge…

Denying sanctuary to people you victimized breeds resentment that promotes terrorism. ISIS uses this in their propaganda. Our government, in our name, has already done far too many things to help Muslim extremists promote terrorism. It’s time to stop.

What about screening?

Refugees are screened. The process takes 18 to 24 months. It’s a game of “pretend.” Think about it…

Will Assad give us his files about the people fleeing his rule? Of course not. So there can be no background checks for these refugees. It’s absurd to think otherwise.

But even if screening could work, would-be terrorists would simply bypass the process and enter the country by other means. Again, think about it…

Someone who’s willing to die in a terrorist attack isn’t going to worry about being arrested for travelling without papers.

Screening is pointless. It’s a fairy tale that just wastes money and holds innocent people against their will. But here’s something that could work…

If we treat immigrants with respect they may inform on the bad people in their community. But this is unlikely to happen as long we treat all Muslims like terrorists and innocent people as if they were guilty.

A final point…

Many Americans sneer at the French. They call them cowards and “surrender monkeys.” Remember “freedom fries?” Yet France is taking in 30,000 Syrian refugees while the U.S. is taking in none (so far). That’s embarrassing. We call ourselves the “home of the brave.” That’s just empty bragging. Americans tremble before the slightest risk. How do we know?

  • You should see the letters we get, telling us we’re not scared enough.
  • There’s even a news network completely devoted to being crazy with fear. They wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t getting ratings. It’s time to grow a backbone.

If you agree, please tell Congress to….

  • Accept Syrian refugees, but instead of using tax money to support them…
  • Create a path for Americans to sponsor Syrian individuals and families

Take these actions…

  1. Send your instructions to Congress using Downsize DC’s Educate the Powerful System.
  2. Forward this message to friends. Ask them to send a letter, just like you did.
  3. Consider making a contribution or starting a monthly pledge to further our work

We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving,

Perry Willis

Vice President, Downsize DC

P.S. Jim Babka’s appearances as a guest-host on the Gary Nolan Show can be heard on the show’s archive page, but archives appear for a limited time. The Friday 11/23 show was the only one available at press time, and the link for that episode is:

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