Syria Letter – 14 April 2016

I am writing again about the situation in Syria, which I am sure is of great concern to the entire country. My main concern is that I do not want the United States to be dragged into a civil war in Asia. I don’t completely understand the reasoning behind the Republican President’s decision to attack the Syrian government at this time. Mostly I am disgusted with the administration’s decision to lash out at the government of Syria, when his other actions in office are directly harming the people being murdered by that government.

Obviously, there are limits to what you are able to do about this. My hope is that you will do what you can to help the Syrian people to escape this terrible situation and to help other refugees, both in the Middle East and in other places that are also in dire straits but are not making the headlines. We should continue to give aid to these people and ignore the Administration’s budget on this and other issues. We should do more to help refugees to settle in the United States, again in spite of the administration’s desire. In a better political situation, we would have Congress taking the lead in these matters with an AUMF document that keeps the United States out of this civil war.

While I understand that domestic issues are front and center right now, I believe this is something that would have a large amount of support from both parties and may do more to bring some comity back to Congress. Something that has been missing these past few months.


Muslim Ban v2.0 – Still a bigoted failure

Statue of Liberty - Dark

2017 Is not being subtle at all

The Republican President has just signed a second attempt at a Muslim ban (only don’t call it a Muslim ban!). This time, there was no press and only a single sad picture on Twitter as an acknowledgement. Iraq has been removed from the list, except for Iraqi refugees which are still banned along with refugees from every other country. The ban is already being challenged in court and the hearing is March 15.

The security claim is exactly the same before. This time they have an Attorney General to give the trumped up numbers. “There are 300 open cases at the FBI,” but they can’t say what kind of cases are involved, which countries they supposedly come from, or how many are actually going to trial. Considering the urgent need for the Administration to find any justification for this illegal order, I’m sure if they had a single terrorist you’d hear no end of it.

If you want some actual numbers, 300 cases represents less than 0.3% of all refugees admitted in the past year and less than 0.05% of all refugees in the past 10 years. And roughly 3.7% of all open FBI cases actually turn into a full investigation. As a group, refugees seem to be less prone to both crime and violent crime than the rest of the U.S. population. Since 9/11 only three refugees out of 784,000 have been arrested for terrorist activities in the U.S. Two of those were for sending support back to Iraq, not for an actual attack on the U.S., and the third did not prove to have a credible threat of attack. This is an incredible rate and should demonstrate that the Refugee vetting program is working as well as humanly possible.

These facts are well known to the courts, and the ACLU, which is why the Administration has lost every single court challenge to date, and will continue to do so. Without a credible threat, there is no legal justification for this ban.

However, this is not really about facts but about bigotry and the fear by many of the Republican President’s supporters of those that are different from them. The best way to combat this is not with facts and figures, but to appeal to their common humanity and to demonstrate the unjust and heartless actions being carried out in the name of all Americans. That’s going to be my goal with this topic from here on.