Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – keeping the door open

It’s a shame what a lot of Americans are advocating now, that we ignore the desperate and do exactly what the Muslim fundamentalists want us to do, be fearful, selfish twits. It is no surprise that it is the Republicans and Tea Party (haven’t heard that term in a while, eh?) who are cowards and who want to use the actions of Muslim extremists to feed their xenophobia of anyone who isn’t like them.  They want to shut the door, not just be as cautious as we have always been with refugees.

It’s even worse when they insist that perhaps they would allow just the Christians to come in. Of course these idiots likely have no idea that most Christians in Syria are Orthodox and not the right kind of Christian for your average TrueChristian Jesus loves Guns ‘Merican.   I will admit, they have done a great job of showing the impotence of their god by pointing out it has done nothing.  My dear spouse has pointed out that this god could have split the Mediterranean and allow the refugees to walk across or they could have built an ark, rather than depend on sinking boats where they die.

I am very proud that my governor has told ISIL to “fuck off” as this excellent graphic shows:

do not know the source. wish I did.

do not know the source. wish I did.

We are a country built on many of those who were driven from their homelands. Those coming here unfortunately harmed those who homeland this was dreadfully and we need to help our native peoples as much as we help others. We’re also a country that has resisted in becoming a theocracy run by Christian extremists, who want the exact same thing as ISIL does, to rule over others while they hope for the end of the world. Death cults one and all.

Once upon a time, many Americans also wanted to keep out Jews when they were running for their lives. So much for the “greatest generation”. It’s time to not make that mistake again. This time of year is often used to celebrate what we have benefited from.   We should do what we can to help those who have lost everything.

Addendum: Here’s a bit of curious Christian history I stumbled upon when looking up Syrian Christians which show how the religion and its sects differ: Liturgy of Addai and Mari.

Addendum 2:

I received a very good letter from Governor Wolf’s office in regards to this issue:

Office of the Governor

Thomas W. Wolf

Dear Constituent:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the Syrian refugee resettlement. I understand the fears of many in the wake of the attacks in Paris and Beirut, and this letter is meant to address many of those concerns, as well as explain the extensive vetting process utilized by the federal government before a refugee even enters the country and the limitations on any state’s ability to stop federal resettlement of refugees. We must not forget that those fleeing Syria – and other places in crisis – are families, elderly, and orphaned children seeking to escape a daily life that includes the same horrific violence that occurred in Paris.

As governor of Pennsylvania, my first priority is protecting the commonwealth. I believe we can keep Pennsylvania safe while also ensuring that Pennsylvania stays true to its values and builds on its rich history of accepting immigrants and refugees from around the world. These two goals are not mutually exclusive. Our commonwealth can be a safe haven for refugees fleeing the humanitarian crises across the world, and, as we have for centuries, we must work with the federal government to make sure all proper safeguards are in place.

Despite the implication of some, states do not have the authority to refuse to accept refugees that are admitted by the federal government.  The Refugee Act of 1980 authorizes the president to admit refugees who face persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  This Act also creates the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program to provide for the effective resettlement of refugees and to assist them to achieve economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible after arrival in the United States.   The resettlement process is federally-driven and federally-funded.

To ensure the safety of the commonwealth, Pennsylvania will continue working with the federal government to make certain that all individuals have gone through the proper screening process, and we will encourage the federal government to continually improve and strengthen its process. I have further directed Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services and Office of Homeland Security to review the federal government’s process and make any additional recommendations to strengthen these already extensive safeguards.

To this end, the federal government has an extensive refugee screening and vetting process in place. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees receives applications from refugees and evaluates them for resettlement, based on vulnerability and other criteria. A Department of State Resettlement Support Center conducts pre-screening and then refers the case to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjudication. The United States process of screening and vetting refugee applicants takes an average of 12 – 16 months.

Refugees seeking to resettle in America are subject to the highest level of security checks, which includes an in-person interview, a full health and biometric screening, and the involvement from the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense.  A refugee applicant cannot be approved for travel to the United States until all of the required security checks have been completed and cleared. Once this process is complete, the refugee may travel to the United States for resettlement, and the federal government coordinates with state agencies and charitable organizations to assist with resettlement. The refugee must apply for Legal Permanent Resident status within one year of arriving in the United States.

This is “the most stringent security process for anyone entering the United States,” according to the State Department. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served under President George W. Bush, said this week that “what the United States has done is to be open to people who are fleeing tyranny, who are fleeing danger, but we have done it in a very careful way that has worked for us.” According to the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, “the process for refugees is the most extensive security screening we have for visitors. It’s easier to come in as a tourist, a student, a businessman.”

Pennsylvania has a rich history of opening its doors to those facing persecution and danger. William Penn founded our commonwealth on the principle of religious freedom, seeking to allow those in Europe to escape persecution. Since October 1, 2015, 275 refugees have settled in Pennsylvania from around the globe. From October 2014 to September 2015, Pennsylvania had 3,056 total refugees resettle from throughout the world. In the two years prior to that, more than 5,000 global refugees resettled in Pennsylvania. These were families from across the globe, and only a small percentage came from Syria.

During past conflicts, the United States has accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees who were fleeing violence and persecution. Jewish refugees came to Pennsylvania from Germany and other European countries to escape the Nazi occupation and religious persecution.  Following the Vietnam War, President Gerald Ford resettled 130,000 Vietnamese refugees. As millions in Syria face violence, persecution, and death, we should continue to help those who we can while taking care to protect our commonwealth and our country, just as we have done for hundreds of years. To reject only Syrian refugees could embolden the message of those who seek to inspire violence by saying that we, as Americans, do not have compassion or care for specific groups of people in the world facing religious persecution.

My top priority is the protection of the commonwealth and the safety of our citizens. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Office of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania National Guard, and Pennsylvania State Police continue to take extensive steps to prepare for emergencies and crises. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency continually facilitates exercises to prepare for emergencies and stands ready to assist local emergency management agencies in times of need. The Office of Homeland Security routinely trains those in the public and private sector to prevent and prepare for emergency situations. The Pennsylvania State Police are constantly working with local law enforcement and federal authorities to ensure the availability of intelligence, personnel, and equipment to protect critical infrastructure and aid in the security of public events held throughout the commonwealth. At my direction, commonwealth agencies will continue to focus their efforts on preventing and preparing for terrorist and other large-scale crises.

Pennsylvania will not seek to disrupt efforts to resettle refugees from humanitarian crises throughout the world, including Syria.  To this end, I will work with state and national partners to ensure that the federal government takes every precaution to make sure refugees from Syria and elsewhere are properly screened prior to admittance to the United States. At the same time, I want to remain true to Pennsylvania’s long and noble tradition of being a welcoming place.

Sincerely,

TOM WOLF
Governor

 

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11 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – keeping the door open

  1. Here’s a basic compare and contrast exercise between Americans and Canadians… from Calgary’s Muslim mayor (talking to a reporter about how the city was preparing for the some of the 25,000 Syrian refugees due in by year’s end) who was just reelected with over 70% of the popular support:

    “I had a meeting this morning where we had a community forum on refugees. And I was a little bit nervous walking in because it was an open invitation, anybody could come, and I thought there might be some angry people or people with a lot of very difficult questions. And who was there were churches and synagogues and temples and mosques and grandmothers and volunteers and people from across the community, who were just asking the same question, which is by the way still by far the most common question I get, how can I help? And at one point a First Nations woman stood up, I only knew that because she said, I am a First Nations woman. And I thought she was going to say, why are we having all this focus on these refugees when we have so many problems closer to home? And what she actually said was, I need some help. Because I need to understand how and when they’re coming because I want to make sure, and many of my First Nations colleagues, want to make sure that when these people come, we have an opportunity to have the elders there to drum them in and to do a smudge ceremony so we can welcome them to this land.”

    The point of so many of the biblical stories is no different in morality than the story being written by our actions today: how should we treat others? This action defines our identity and reveals who we really are… to ourselves first and foremost. Can a person – even if convinced of the righteousness of violent jihad and trained to commit mass murder – face the kindness of such strangers who make up our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, secular liberal democracy like Canada and welcome them to this land to start anew, be offered the opportunity with financial and social and governmental support to become an important part of who we are as a people even if deeply religious and still carry out targeted acts of barbarism? I suspect that would be very difficult to rationalize.

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