As we attempt to come to terms with our nation’s refugee policy having been subjected to elective surgery in a hastily constructed MASH unit behind Trump Tower, it’s worth considering whether President Donald J. Trump will soon overtake preemptive war atop the list of “America’s Worst Gifts to the 21st Century.”
Like many this week, I’ve become much better acquainted with the plight of the world’s refugees and the United States’ ability to positively impact their future.
This from Vox.com’s Dara Lind left my gut feeling thoroughly punched:
Since World War II, refugee policy in the US (and in other countries following the US’s lead) has been made on the premise that there are evils being committed in the world against powerless groups, and that it is the duty of stable and wealthy countries to protect members of those groups. Trump’s executive order makes it clear that this administration does not share that sense of obligation.
Today, the individuals who make up these “powerless groups” number in the millions worldwide. And, for those refugees who are citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, Trump’s order temporarily blocks their entry into the US — lest a terrorist were to sneak in the country among them.
(Meanwhile, don’t doubt that the Trumpian definition of “temporarily” has been lifted from an “alternate” dictionary. Since no citizen of the aforementioned countries has committed an act of domestic terror here in America, we’re dealing with an executive order that offers a temporary solution to a nonexistent problem.
Which begs the question, how does one know when our nonexistent problem has been solved?
Never, is my guess.)
But, as I was saying — lest a terrorist were to sneak in the country among them.
Because that’s the rub: Lots of Americans are scared of terrorists.
And, sure, the American people are all in when asked to go shopping, to the movies, to the ballpark — to patriotically spend money to keep the economy nice and healthy.
Otherwise, the terrorists win!
But ask them to help save tens of thousands of refugees, and too many Americans seem to think that risk is too great. According to the CATO Institute, “the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year.”
For perspective, the odds of an American dying in a car crash are about 1 in 47,000 per year.
Yet, after taking appropriate precautions (i.e. wearing our seat belts, performing safety maintenance on our vehicles, etc.), we don’t hesitate to hop in our cars every single day.
The Obama Administration’s vetting process for refugees can take up to 2 years per individual. That process has a current success rate of 100-percent. I’d say “appropriate precautions” had already been taken prior to Trump’s order.
Again, the US can choose to save tens of thousands of refugees, and the risk to its own citizens is so small that it barely warrants comparison to the car crash fatalities statistic above.
Know empathy. Know hospitality.
Be America again.