Vetting: “make a careful and critical examination of (something).”
Things are very different now than they were just a few decades ago. America, the melting pot of the world, was once able to allow immigration into the country that was unparalleled and practically carefree. People wanted to come here for opportunity, freedom, and to escape whatever conditions they were in before. It was through this positive immigration and appropriate integration that some of our greatest strides were made as a nation.
Today, there are people who are not here for the opportunity. They despise our freedom. Rather than escaping the conditions they were in before, they want to impose the same conditions on America.
We are now in the era when vetting is absolutely necessary. The question that needs to be answered is whether or not true vetting can be accomplished. Unfortunately, it cannot be.
What about “extreme vetting”?
There are two misunderstandings being promulgated for different reasons by both political sides. On one hand, we have the Republicans talking about “extreme vetting” in a way that’s supposed to make us feel like everyone entering the nation has to go through intense psychological tests and are forced to wear tracking anklets at all times or a DHS team will swarm upon them. The Democrats want to paint “extreme vetting” as a racist roadblock that keeps the next Indra Nooyi or Shahid Khan out of the country so Caucasian males can reign supreme in the American patriarchy.
Yesterday’s Manhattan terrorist attack was perpetrated by a man, Sayfullo Saipov, who is a legal permanent resident of the United States. He came here in 2010 from Uzbekistan through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. 50,000 people annually come from countries with low rates of immigration into the United States. They are selected via “lottery.”
Some, including the President, are calling for the program to be replaced by a merit-based system. Others are calling for it to be scrapped altogether. Neither solution addresses the bigger problem with our legal immigration system. It’s not about who comes in, how they’re selected, or their nation of origin. These elements can affect the likelihood that someone entering the country will be peaceful and productive members of American society, but they aren’t guarantees. Uzbekistan is conspicuously not on the President’s travel ban list.
Even if we’re willing to dramatically slow all forms of legal immigration and pay the tremendous cost to comprehensively vet every person attempting to come to America, we wouldn’t be able to stop all negative elements from entering. Some who pass any form of vetting will become criminals. Some will hate America. Some will become terrorists.
Do we close the borders completely?
This can actually be an initially appealing concept for those of us who are worried about terrorism or other negatives associated with legal immigration. Here’s the problem. If anyone attempted to put an end to all legal immigration, they’d be pushed out of DC faster than Harvey Weinsten was pushed out of Hollywood.
Let’s say support grew and it became feasible to call for closing the borders altogether. After all, there’s nothing that requires us as a sovereign nation to allow anyone into the country if we so choose. Could we really shut the doors completely? Yes. Shortly thereafter, the United States would crumble.
Between the intense opposition to such a move internally and the international outcry that would isolate us from the rest of the world, our entire financial and social systems would collapse rapidly. Riots would become regularities. International trade would come to a screeching halt starting a domino effect on the economy that could not be stopped until there was complete and utter chaos. America would become a third-world country in a matter of months.
Beyond concerns over the destruction that would ensue if we closed the borders completely, there’s another factor. Most legal immigrants integrate and become productive members of society. As a legal immigrant myself, I thought it necessary to point this fact out.
If there’s no way to truly vet those who enter the nation in a way that prevents attacks such as the one in New York City and there’s no way to stop immigration altogether without destroying the nation, what can be done?
I’ve read dozens of recommendations on fixing the legal immigration system. Most offer solutions that are broken down in a paragraph or two. All have major flaws that are conspicuously ignored. This brought me to the conclusion that we’re asking the wrong questions.
As I mentioned before, I’m a legal immigrant. Saying that doesn’t paint the full picture of how I became so earnestly patriotic. You see, this is all I’ve ever known. My father was in the Air Force and met my mother in the Philippines. They brought me here when I was 4-months-old, so unlike the majority of legal immigrants, I had no preexisting culture embed in me to compete with living as an American. I’ve only known what it’s like to be an American. I don’t speak Tagalog. I’ve never left the country. That’s not to say I abandoned my heritage completely, but I was never exposed to it any more than an average American who picks up a 5-pack of lumpia at a Filipino fast food joint.
Most of my family on my mother’s side now live in America. My uncle served in the U.S. Navy. One cousin is an engineer for the government. Another is a nurse. They all speak English very well, have barbecues on the weekends, and were rabid football fans until the Chargers left San Diego. None of them could be terrorists. None of them could be criminals. All of them contribute as productive tax-paying Americans.
What makes my family different from people like Sayfullo Saipov? They want to be here to experience the American dream and have always been willing to do what it takes to succeed.
In other words, my family appreciates the opportunity, freedom, and living conditions available to us in America. We need all legal immigrants to feel the same way.
Immigration as a privilege and a responsibility
As radical ideas go, this may be one of the strangest. That’s the situation we’re in, though; we can’t stop the flow of negative elements into the nation without cutting it off completely which would destroy America even faster than the negative elements. Radical ideas may be all we have left.
Currently, immigrants and their U.S.-born children number nearly 90 million. That’s over a quarter of the population. Anyone who says we haven’t done our part as a nation hasn’t looked at these numbers.
To make immigration a privilege, we have to limit it dramatically.
To make it a responsibility, we have to set criteria for proper integration.
It’s time to make “extreme vetting” a secondary notion. That’s not to say we don’t need to vet immigrants. We cannot rely on vetting alone. It can’t be done, not with the numbers that are currently coming in. America does not have a responsibility to the world to take in so many immigrants every year. 50,000 are part of the diversity program annually. How about we make that 5,000. Random lottery? How about we go with “merit-based,” though not exactly what President Trump describes.
What merits should be considered? The standard ones should definitely apply, such as an ability to support oneself and one’s family without government assistance. On the other hand, I’m less interested in bringing over the “best people” as the President often discusses. He envisions engineers, scientists, and accountants. In reality we need them to be from a wide spectrum of vocations. Why? Because we cannot allow any industries to take on an infusion of immigrant talent that prevents Americans from getting those jobs. Full-spectrum immigration means the responsible laborer is just as important as the responsible chemist. As long as they can provide for themselves and pay taxes, they cover the first merit.
The second merit is a controversial one for some reason. They need to be able to speak English. I’m not going to argue this point. Either you get it or you don’t.
The third merit is even more controversial. There can’t be a religious test, but there can be a Constitution-alignment test. There are certain ideologies within religions such as sharia law that run contrary to the Constitution. We shouldn’t prevent Muslims from immigrating, but we can prevent those who embrace sharia law because it opposes the Constitution. Every immigrant should know the Constitution, swear to defend it, and be willing to abide by all of our laws.
Lastly, there should be love for America. It’s easy to fake, impossible to test, and patriotically corny, but it’s also a necessity. Those who want to take advantage of what America has to offer need to also be willing to embrace the nation they’ve chosen as their new home. That doesn’t mean abandoning culture, but they have to be willing to embrace ours simultaneously. In other words, they need to be willing to assimilate rather than hoping to assimilate us.
If we dramatically reduce the number of immigrants and impose stricter criteria for them to enter, it’s more precious. It’s a privilege. It can be made into a responsibility. Today, the immigration system cheapens the importance of becoming an American. This has to change.
Reduce legal immigration. Improve vetting. Set standards by which immigrants are coming for opportunity, freedom, and to contribute. We cannot keep every potential criminal or terrorist from entering the country, but we can do our best to limit the potential. If we are going to continue as a thriving nation, this is absolutely essential.
Media highlight why migrants left their countries, but neglect one important fact
Buzz around the migrant caravan has been waning over the last week. President George H. W. Bush’s death and other stories have moved the swelling problem in Tijuana and all along the border to page two, but the problem keeps getting worse. As it moves into the stage of being labeled a humanitarian crisis, mainstream media is focused on spreading two narratives, both of which are centered around choices.
The first narrative has been up and down in the news cycle. Sometimes, it’s the focus, as it was when the migrant caravans were first forming and also today as the narrative is being reintroduced. Other times, it’s simply inserted into other stories as a reminder to reinforce the narrative. This is the “no choice” narrative.
The second narrative is one that calls for the United States to make a choice. There’s only one acceptable choice in the minds of leftists and mainstream media that is even remotely acceptable. Let’s look at each choice and see how they work together. When we dig deeply enough, we’ll see that the premise of the first choice (or lack thereof) doesn’t jibe with the second choice at all.
Of course, they don’t want you to think that deeply into this matter.
Narrative 1: No choice for the migrants
An article today sought to justify not only the trek the migrant caravans made but the decision many of them have made to bypass the system and enter the United States illegally.
Some members of the caravan of Central American immigrants that arrived in Tijuana last month are starting to illegally slip through the US-Mexico border.
The Trump administration has tried a variety of strategies to stop them since they set out on the long trek weeks ago—from insults to troop deployment to the use of tear gas. But for citizens of countries that have long been convulsed by tragedy, those may seem like minor obstacles.
The article then goes on to try to convince us that everything from natural disasters to poverty have given many of the citizens of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador no choice but to seek asylum. If the Guatemala civil war (which ended in 1996) doesn’t kill them, then violent crime will surely get them, or so we’re told. While armed conflict shouldn’t be downplayed, it’s nowhere near as bad as mainstream media wants us to believe. As for violent crime, it’s bad. But then again, it’s bad elsewhere.
The murder rate in Guatemala is lower than the murder rate in Newark, NJ.
I’m not suggesting we ignore the problems they’re facing. The conditions those in the migrant caravan are fleeing are serious concerns. This narrative works when trying to convince Americans the migrants had no choice. Let’s go with it for now.
Narrative 2: The United States must choose to let the migrants in
This particular narrative is the natural followup to the first narrative. We are a nation and a people that seeks solutions. Mainstream media and leftists are offering us a very simple solution: Let them in.
This has been the off-and-on-again narrative for a decade. There was a time (I know, hard to believe) when Democrats and mainstream media acknowledged the problems associated with our porous borders. It’s hard to imagine today, but I remember investigative reports that demonstrated how easy it is to sneak into America. These reports would often focus on dangerous men who crossed the borders and quickly reunited with their gangs who had already crossed.
One in particular (I wish I could find the video) talked to a man who claimed he traveled with people he suspected to be terrorists. This was right after 9/11 when fears of infiltration were not being called “Islamophobia” yet, so mainstream media happily covered it.
Today, the narrative is all about our abundance and the migrants’ needs. It’s the standard socialist talking point meant to pull at our humanitarian heartstrings. We have, they don’t, so let them in so we can take care of all those poor women and children.
The ignored choice
In all the reporting I’ve been reading today about the migrant caravan, I had to turn to a source I don’t like to use in order to find a reporting of the real solution.
Mexico offers a choice of a humanitarian visa or access to a speedy asylum process. Tijuana was supposed to be a transit point for the Central American migrant caravan.
But, as access to the US is becoming more difficult, many of these asylum seekers are opting to start a new life in Mexico instead.
That’s it. That’s all there was to the article. The attached video on the page continues to reinforce the two primary narratives, as if reporting on the actual solution needs to be overshadowed.
Mainstream media and leftists are ignoring the fact that the two narratives they’re pushing are both reconciled by Mexico’s offer of asylum. The migrants left a dangerous situation. They’re being offered security, jobs, healthcare, and asylum by Mexico. Problem solved, right?
No. The vast majority of migrants are not seeking safe haven from dangerous conditions. If they were, they’d take it.
Our real choice as a nation is whether we are sovereign or not. If we are sovereign, then we enforce the law and protect our borders. Migrants who choose to go through the legal process to get granted asylum are welcome here. Those who choose to ignore the law are not welcome. It really should be that simple.
But that’s not a narrative you’ll see from mainstream media because it doesn’t push their agenda.
If it’s asylum they seek, they have it available to them in Mexico. But that’s clearly not what they seek or more would accept the generous offer. Why won’t mainstream media or leftists acknowledge this inconvenient truth?
The real reason Republicans aren’t pressing for the border wall
A Tweet by conservative commentator David Limbaugh caught my attention today. I was a little surprised that Limbaugh, one of the most astute and underrated voices in the conservative movement, was wondering why the GOP has been dragging their feet on both the border wall and making tax cuts permanent. Then it occurred to me that if Limbaugh didn’t see it, maybe others weren’t seeing it either.
Here’s the Tweet:
One thing I’ll never understand is why the GOP didn’t at least try to make the tax cuts permanent and pass border wall legislation here while they still have their majority. Maybe too many squishes, I don’t know, but why no real effort?
— David Limbaugh (@DavidLimbaugh) December 5, 2018
The tax cuts can’t be made permanent through reconciliation. Otherwise, I believe they would have at least tried. The border wall, on the other hand, could be funded quite easily during the lame duck session on Capitol Hill. We know it will be nearly impossible to get the wall funded once Democrats take over the House of Representatives next session, so why isn’t the GOP pushing for it now while they have the chance?
Answer: The wall is part of their 2020 election strategy.
The GOP succeeded in 2010, 2014, and 2016 because of fear of Obamacare. It was a bluff, of course. All of it was. They never intended to repeal it as they promised for six years. They wanted to change it, perhaps make it more palatable, but it’s hard to change the status quo when so much money is wrapped up in it. That’s why they put a clean repeal bill on President Obama’s desk in 2015 for him to veto but couldn’t put anything on President Trump’s desk while they had the power to do so. Most will blame Senator John McCain, but he was just part of the reason they couldn’t do it. In the end, they read the tea leaves and figured they couldn’t afford to rock the boat ahead of the 2018 midterms. It was a terrible miscalculation, but it’s done.
Either way, Obamacare repeal is essentially off the table.
Now, they need other items to run on in 2020. The border wall is one of them. They want to drive voters in 2020 by telling them Democrats are blocking their efforts to build the border wall. They’ll bet on the news-cycle-centered mentality of modern American society that makes people forget the GOP is squandering the opportunity they have right now to fund the border wall. It’ll work, too. By the time 2020 rolls around, everyone who wants a border wall will blame Democrats for blocking it.
The wall is unlikely to be their premier plank. Candidate Trump hammered it hard in 2016. He’ll need to run on the premise that he fulfilled his promises and has new ones to get done in order to make America great again. But he’ll mention the wall. Republicans on (or hoping to be on) Capitol Hill will point fingers at Democrats for preventing the wall from being built. They’ll tread lightly but nonetheless they’ll push the idea forward.
“If you want the wall, we need your help,” their messaging will say.
2020 GOP candidates will push the notion that to build the wall, they’ll need to regain control of the House while maintaining control of the Senate. What Republican voters should be asking is why they didn’t fund the wall when they had the chance in 2018.
The Five reacts to migrant caravan children being dropped from 18-foot walls
There are two real takeaways from the discussion on yesterday’s The Five when they tackled the topic of illegal immigrants dropping their children over an 18-foot wall in order to get into the United States. The first is the obvious one – we need better border security, including better walls. Second, leftists like Juan Williams pretend like they don’t see the obvious in order to protect their ideology.
The whole thing is a joke right now. Every major study in the United States and across the globe has concluded that walls and proper border security dramatically influence the flow of illegal border crossings. This is indisputable. The current talking point for Democrats is that it’s a waste of money. No, seriously. That’s the story they’re going with right now and it’s pitiful.
It would be better if the left just came out and said they are against the border wall because President Trump is for it. If a Democrat from a border area like California suggested a wall, many on the left would probably agree. Maybe not.
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