Politics Rights

Cowardly Governors Want to Turn Away Refugees Fleeing ISIS

Tommie Hansen, Marc Nozell, flickr;
Written by Ethan M. Long

The attention of the world has been on the subject of terrorism, whether taking place in Paris, Beirut, or Syria. Since Friday, politicians and leaders across the world have condemned the attacks, which ISIS has taken credit for. By the time the G20 conference ended at the close of the weekend, Americans across the nation had switched their Facebook profile photos to French flags while others let their paranoia fuel hateful statements, making sweeping generalizations while pointing fingers at entire groups of people. Specifically: those fleeing terror, attempting to migrate to a safe country.

Unfortunately, there has been a domino effect among the states, specifically their governors, as at least 27 have now said that they wouldn’t be interested in taking in refugees from war-torn Syria.

In other words, to combat terror, they suppose it’s best to leave the potential victims of terror exactly where they are.

Why? They say that there must be a vetting process put in place before we can offer any of our space. However, is the threat of sleeper cell violence really the main reason? Could the tragedy in Paris be used to push unabashedly racist and nationalist agendas through the heightened fears of the average American; fears instilled by the terror attacks that took place in a similar socioeconomic country?

A man going by the name of Ahmad Al Mohammad had traveled through Greece and the Balkans with the stream of migrants who were attempting to escape chaos and violence in hopes of finding their footing elsewhere. He was supposedly from Syria, yet his Syrian passport has now been deemed fake.

To make matters more confusing, there have now been confirmed reports of a man with the same name entering Serbia in early October, when the Paris assailant was supposedly on a ferry. This means that fake passports are most likely being produced to offer identities for people’s ease at travelling.

Why would he travel through these means if not to deceive and cause paranoia? Now, American governors are playing into ISIS’s plan by spreading fear and refusing those seeking a better life entry into the United States.

Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and as of earlier today, Maryland. These are the places where state governments have stated they don’t want to accept refugees.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas said that “Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees – any one of whom could be connected to terrorism – being resettled in Texas.”

Meanwhile, former Arkansas governor, Republican presidential candidate, and conservative talking head Mike Huckabee said on Sunday that “We are clearly not dealing with leashed animals or with a JV team. We’re dealing with a threat to western civilization. During the debate last week, I stated that we should not admit those claiming to be Syrian refugees and was condemned by the left for that position. I was right and the events in Paris affirm that.”

He proposes to close the borders immediately, instead of closing Guantanamo. Then, he wants “an immediate moratorium” on every refugee from “countries where there is a strong presence of ISIS or Al-Qaeda.”

Then, off-topic but bundled in, Huckabee proposes to “Revoke any agreement with Iran regarding their nuclear capacity. Radical Islamists, whether Sunni or Shia, are a clear and present danger to civilization.”

Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan wrote in a letter to the State Department and Homeland Security that while his state has always been open to refugees who wish to start anew, the attacks in Lebanon and France has swayed them to cease the intake program until the federal government reviews its own practices.

“I am asking for a full review of security clearances and procedures for all refugees who have the potential to be placed in Michigan,” the letter stated, citing “our first priority is protecting the lives of people in our state and across the country.”

What really needs to be done to protect the lives of people across the country is arguable.

Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, who has previously been open to discussions about taking in refugees from Syria, had similar thoughts as Snyder — that the Federal Government must first give more information about how they’re going to vet them.

There is already an 18-24 month processing time.

Marty Walsh, the Mayor of Massachusetts’ largest city, Boston, countered Baker by saying that “As a city and as a country it is not our custom to turn our backs on people who are in need and who are innocent.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that “It is better to be safe than sorry,” when speaking about stopping refugee programs.

Why stop a system that has helped tens of thousands of people?

Why stop a system that has yet to lead to tragedy?

Why, if the bulk of assailants in Paris have been found to be French nationalists, do these politicians push against refugees now more than ever?

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek wrote in a piece published on Monday that “The greatest victims of the Paris terror attacks will be refugees themselves, and the true winners, behind the platitudes in the style of je suis Paris, will be simply the partisans of total war on both sides.”

Screw fear. Screw these Governors. Screw the xenophobic conservatives who insist they believe “All Lives Matter” but when push comes to shove only care for their own.

About the author

Ethan M. Long

Ethan Long is a journalist based out of Boston, MA.

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Cowardly Governors Want to Turn Away Refugees Fleeing ISIS

by Ethan M. Long
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