In September 2015, President Obama committed to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees by 2017, according to the New York Times, giving skewed information on where and how they would be resettled. Obama also said that he would veto a bill that proposed additional security measures that would further ensure that the refugees from countries such as Syria and Iraq were not an imminent threat to national security.
On Nov. 16, over a month later, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed an executive order that aimed at preventing the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Louisiana. Although the power of issuing an executive order should be exercised in dire circumstances alone, Jindal’s action did serve in the interest of the welfare of Louisiana.
The fundamental reasoning behind the order is that Obama’s plan is hopelessly flawed. A huge amount of the 100,000 refugees will undoubtedly be of Syrian origin which makes the reliability of the vetting process extremely volatile. Also, after refugees arrive in the United States, they are not tracked. In other words, the refugees are allowed to relocate freely around the country without government regulation. ISIL is notorious for their sadistic talent to infiltrate the minds of innocent youths and manipulate them, turning them to their cause. This means that even if the Department of Homeland Security’s background checks do not indicate any known affiliation with groups like ISIL, there is still a significant chance that migrants with intentions of harming the U.S. and its people will be among the masses allowed into the country.
We saw this happen in the United States in 2009, when two Iraqi men that held allegiance to the terrorist group al Qaeda were discovered living in Bowling Green Kentucky, registered as refugees. These men admitted in court that they had directly attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq on behalf of al Qaeda, and were indicted on the grounds of fingerprints belonging to one of the men being found on a roadside bomb in Iraq. Instances like this illustrate the fact that even when approved by federal background checks, individuals who pose a direct threat can and will trickle into the U.S.
Jindal, by vocally scrutinizing President Obama’s administration for their negligence, has also affected nationwide pushes for reform. The Louisiana Governor joined at least 24 other governors, Democrat and Republicans alike, in issuing executive orders barring Syrian refugees from their states. This, along with the recent passing of the bipartisan Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, has proved that two opposed parties have agreed that, in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s words, “This should not be about Republicans and Democrats. This should be about keeping America safe.”
America was essentially founded on the premise of accepting all, and establishing a community that is inclusive to those escaping danger and/or abusive governments. Effectively, America has accepted innumerable numbers of immigrants and refugees from around the world since it was established as a nation. Efficient systems such as Ellis Island were set up in order to expedite the registration process, accepting the optimal number of aliens into the country. The immigration process, however, has always been regulated by acts of congress like:
- The Internal Security Act of 1950, which banned immigrants with previous ties to fascist/communist organizations.
- The ban of Anarchists in 1903
- The ban of known or suspected criminals in 1875
- The Alien Enemies Act of 1798
The variable that all of these restrictions have in common is the emphasis on national security, which has always been, and should always be, the government’s top priority. In the current case of Syrian refugees, the government should not hesitate to suspend the influx due to their threat of national security.