syrian-1115Many of you reading this today are aware of the two major factions in the debate about whether to allow Syrian refugees into the United States or not. Diving into the fierce debate are the governors of at least 31 states who have declared that they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states. Texas governor Greg Abbott has stated that he opposes Syrian refugees in Texas under the guise of “security comes first.” Florida and New Mexico have also refused to accept Syrian refugees.

Of course, as with all rhetoric, the facts have little to do with the debate. The simple truth, ignored by the governors, is that they have no authority with which to keep Syrian refugees out of their states. Yes, they can make it difficult, through bureaucratic entanglements, but the end result is that immigration is the domain of the federal government. This simple fact is demonstrated everyday by the millions of travelers entering and leaving the states without passing through immigration control checkpoints.

In other words, once in the United States, there are no impediments for travelers to go to each of the states that have declared themselves Syrian refugee free. Until the State of Texas, or any other state for that matter, enacts border checkpoints asking for traveling documents, the fact remains that Syrians and other immigrants allowed by the federal government into the United States can legally go to any state they wish.

This simple fact that is conveniently ignored by the governors exposes the underlining reason why they do not want Syrian refugees in their midst, and it has nothing to do with “security.”

In debating this I have heard the same argument from those opposed. It goes something like this; “if only one bad apple in a group could harm us, isn’t it prudent for us to keep them out so that we can be safe?” I have heard it equated to “one bad raisin” a well.

Assuming for argument’s sake only, that the safety doctrine is valid, then it could be applied to all similar situations. For example, fundamentalist Christians in the United States have been perpetrators of horrific crimes to include terrorism. As a matter of fact, applying the logic of those wanting to keep the Syrian refugees out of the country to those opposed to Planned Parenthood would necessitate excluding, from our midst, all those that have ever expressed a dislike for Planned Parenthood or abortion. After all, three individuals were recently killed by a self-professed baby savior.

Accepting the rhetoric of the governors and those opposed to the Syrian refugees would then require us to keep anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood advocates out of the states as well. Of course, almost all of you, including those opposed to the Syrians, would be against that measure.

That then forces us to ask the question, what is the difference between “one bad apple” within the Syrians and “one bad apple” within the anti-abortionists?

Nothing and that is why the anti-Syrian refugees’ proponents are basing their rhetoric on xenophobia instead of the security of the nation.

Xenophobia is the intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.

Asking to keep the Syrians out because one may be bad is akin to demanding that anti-abortionists be kept out as well. Percentage wise, there are more documented instances of terrorism committed in the United States by home-grown, US citizen terrorists then by foreign-born terrorists.

Once we accept this we can then move on to a more honest debate about immigration.

That debate should include scrutinizing who enters the country but it should never include excluding a segment of the population just because extremists live within their ranks.

I have no problem with demanding that immigrants be identified and vetted as long as the process is applied equally to all. When a system has tiered processes based on ethnicity or country of origin then immigration control moves away from security to selective immigration based on race, ethnicity or economic prosperity. That exasperates the problem of immigration.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

8 replies on “Syrian Refugees and Xenophobia in the United States”

  1. Et tu?!

    The facts on the Colorado shooter are not in yet. Furthermore, you’re perpetuating a myth yourself. There are plenty of terrorists on the left. Remember the Unabomber? Environmental Liberation Front? Weather Underground?

    I expect more from you, but your immigration views keep you from seeing straight on related matters.

  2. Martin, very true we are a nation of immigrants and consider as to why Syrians and other mid easterners are the focus.

    When the Viet Namese, the Cubans, Haitians and others fled to the U.S., did any of them threaten the U.S. that failure to convert to their values or beliefs would result in beheadings ? Did any of the those groups refuse to assimilate and demand to have their own court system? Did any of these groups enter other countries to rape and plunder? Where the vast majority these groups men of military service age or been identified as “star” decapitators? Do the vast majority of any these groups believe it’s ok to have sex with children and animals? Their propensity to find new horrific ways to execute people is unmatched. The Khmer Rouge of the Killing Friends and the SS would be shocked at the ISIS methods.

    As for vetting, how is it possible when records have been destroyed, the Mid East governments are in a disarray and everyone has lost sight as to who is the enemy. The enemy is an Allied Force in one region but the enemy in another.

  3. martin, why dont you ask france why they let refugees in for so many years and now they shut their borders down. why dont take a few refugees into your home in florida. nah, you would rather all the taxpayers pay for that. non muslim refugees dont strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up. yes, we have a few homegrown idiots, but it doesnt compare to muslim terrorist in other countries and what about that damn mayor and his wife in mexico who had all those students killed ? more students were killed than all total of the homegrown’s we have had in past years. give me a break.

  4. In some of my previous comments responding to your posts about immigration, I have agreed with you that our immigration policy should not be based upon ethnicity, country of origin, or even economic viability. Rather, it should be based upon people’s ability and willingness to assimilate with our political values, and, to a lesser extent, on humanitarian concerns; of course, with an overall limit of about 1.7 million immigrants per annum. With that written, and using your logic, I can think of a number of reasons why Mexican immigrants would be placed at the back of the line relative to a large proportion of people from Africa and Asia, considering Mexicans live an a trillion dollar economy, with a relatively high ppp, and with G12 status. If we accepted your logic, Syrians, and Yemenis, and Nigerians would probably have more of a claim to US naturalization than Mexicans because of the severity of their situation; probably even more so than Hondurans, or Guatemalans. I contend that that is not preferable, and that our overriding concern should be people’s ability and willingness to assimilate, politically. In that respect, we should be extraordinarily wary of people coming from a political culture that has difficulty embracing some of the basic tenets of liberalism that form the fabric of our civil society. It’s not xenophobia; it’s common sense. And, how else can we judge an individual’s ability to assimilate than by judging his experiences in society, from a general perspective. People coming from more consolidated democracies will have an easier time understanding and accepting how we do things here; people coming from places with moderation in political activism will assimilate better with our political culture. At this point, Syria is not that place. I know it seems like a catch-22, i.e. you can’t come here unless you come from a developed nation. But, this is why I feel we need to strike a balance between ability to assimilate and economic and political need, however the balance must be weighted much more toward assimilation. Again, I challenge some of my liberal friends to come up with a better philosophical approach to our immigration issues. Don’t give me some flash in the pan, pc talking points you heard on msnbc; apply some social scientific theory. If not, you’re no better than Trump

  5. I notice how keen Mexico is to improve its diversity quotient by encouraging Anglos, Syrians, Hondurans et al to emigrate there.

  6. Xenophobia – fear/hatred of strangers/foreigners used by the owners
    to keep the masses malleable for exploitation

    Just what el trompas has been doing and it sure has been working for him. I see he is now going after the disabled.

    When we create or help create problems for people than we better be prepared when things backfire. We have to provide refuge to the Syrians, we not only help create ISIL, we have been raising all kinds of hell for the people in that part of the world, the lord only knows for how long. Wasn’t that what the Benghazi fiasco was all about? Getting weapons to the ‘freedom’ rebels when they were going after al-Assad?

    Over at the there is a very good essay by David Stockman “Blowback — the Washington War Party’s Folly Comes Home to Roost’’.

    ‘Liberal’, ‘PC’, ‘Illegal’, Assimilation’, ‘Our Culture’, ‘Learn English’ etc., all of these come up when an essay on immigration, refugees, or el trompas is posted. What do these words/phrases mean anyway? At what point is a person ‘assimilated’ enough to be ‘accepted’? I deal with English monolinguals and so many of them do not have a strong command of their only language, neither orally nor written.

    Now then, aren’t there measures in place that could be used to keep these ’unlike us others’ in their place, with a tweak here and there? Listen to John Oliver of how we have managed to keep some of these ‘alien others’ in their place, especially at ~10:45.

    Then we also have this fine fellow out in North Dakota doing what’s best for the country. One day, so help us god, those ‘foreigners’, ‘others’, and ‘not-like-him’ will be gone.

    Let’s keep shaking in our boots and hating with all our ‘American Heart’!

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