Middle East Refugees, Immigration and Assimilation

by | Dec 30, 2015 | Immigration

Obama may think of himself as a citizen of the world, but he was elected President of the United States, not head of a world government, and that does not authorize him to gamble the lives of Americans for the benefit of people in other countries.

When the President of the United States asks the television networks to set aside time for him to broadcast a speech from the Oval Office, we can usually expect that he has something new to say. But President Obama’s speech Sunday night was just a rehash of what he has been saying all along, trying to justify policies that have repeatedly turned out disastrously for America and our allies.

This was not a speech about how the Obama administration is going to do anything differently in the future. It was a speech about how Obama’s policies were right all along. Obama is one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt.

The president struck a familiar chord when he emphasized that we shouldn’t blame all Muslims for the actions of a few. How many people have you heard blaming all Muslims?

Even if 90 percent of all Muslims are fine people, and we admit 10,000 refugees from the Middle East, does that mean that we need not be concerned about adding a thousand potential terrorists — even after we have seen in San Bernardino what just two terrorists can do?

The first responsibility of any government is to protect the people already in the country. Even in this age of an entitlement mentality, no one in a foreign country is entitled to be in America if the American people don’t want them here.

Obama’s talk about how we should not make religious distinctions might make sense if we were talking about handing out entitlements. But we are talking about distinguishing between different populations posing different levels of danger to the American people.

When it comes to matters of life and death, that is no time for the kind of glib, politically correct rhetoric that Barack Obama specializes in.

Obama may think of himself as a citizen of the world, but he was elected President of the United States, not head of a world government, and that does not authorize him to gamble the lives of Americans for the benefit of people in other countries.

The illusion that you can take in large numbers of people from a fundamentally different culture, without jeopardizing your own culture — and everything that depends on it — should have been dispelled by many counterproductive social consequences in Europe, even aside from the fatal dangers of terrorists.

Most refugees in the Middle East can be helped in the Middle East, and many Americans would undoubtedly be willing to financially help Muslim countries like Jordan or Egypt to care for these refugees in societies more compatible with their beliefs and values.

The history of millions of European immigrants who came here in centuries past was fundamentally different from what is happening in our own times.

First of all, those immigrants were stopped at Ellis Island to be checked medically and otherwise, and were allowed to get off that island to go ashore only after they had met whatever legal standards there were. Otherwise, they were sent back where they came from.

More fundamentally, people came here to assimilate into the American society they found, not to become isolated enclaves of aggrieved foreigners, demanding that Americans adjust to their languages, their values and their ways of life.

Like so much that President Obama says, his talk of “stronger screening” of people coming into the United States is sheer fantasy, when even his own intelligence officials and law enforcement officials say that we have no adequate data on which to base a meaningful screening of Syrian refugees.

When Obama spoke of the danger of our being “drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria,” that was yet another fantasy, that wars are optional.

When terrorists are at war with us, we cannot simply declare that war to be over, whenever it is politically convenient, as Obama did when he withdrew American troops from Iraq, against the advice of his own generals. That is what led to the rise of ISIS.

Our only real choice is between destroying ISIS over there or waiting for them to come over here and start killing Americans. As in other cases, Obama has made a choice that reflects politics and rhetoric, rather than reality.


  1. There are 2.5 million Muslim-Americans. So we already have 250,000 terrorists here? Why aren’t there multiple attacks every day? ISIS has about 30,000 fighters or less. That’s .00002 percent of Muslims. The way to solve all of this is to improve the life of the average Middle Easterner with capitalism. Didn’t Jesus say turn the other cheek?

  2. you’re doing an obama, muslim lives matter, parody, right? please tell me you are, please, pretty please.

  3. IceTrey, Are you volunteering to be our ‘cheek’? What level of carnage and/or death of U. S. citizens do we need to incur before you’d be OK with stopping all immigration, creating a secure border; and developing an immigration policy to accept immigrants with skills we need, after they’ve passed a vetting process designed to screen out those who should not be allowed to enter our country?

  4. NO, he did not say ‘ be NICE’ he said ‘BE NOT AFRAID’ and sent his apostles out with the laundry list of what to take in their travels to spread the ‘GOOD NEWS. It was, ‘if you have a cloak sell it and buy a sword’

  5. 2.5 million is still too small to tell; that’s under 1 percent of the population. Wait until it’s c. 10 percent; or I suggest you buy a one way ticket to Sweden to get the full immersion experience.

  6. This is for heartlaker and Ice Tray: Sowell is talking about refugees and immigrants of today, not about Muslims already here. If we grant that 99%, not just 90%, of all Muslim refugees and immigrants of today are fine people, and admit 10,000 Muslims, we’re still admitting 100 bad ones and we must assume many of those 100 will look to commit terror and some will succeed. How many? Who cares? One is too many, if only because that means at least one American citizen, on our own soil, will be killed. That’s one too many. Those 100 must be identified and denied entry.

    As for Trump’s new temporary ban on refugees and immigrants, it’s unnecessary. If he needs 90 or 120 days to develop the right vetting process, he can do it in that time without ANY ban. The old vetting process would just go on for 90 or 120 more days, then start getting phased out or immediately replaced by the new one. Mike Kevitt

  7. Jihad, the spread of islam, comprises several prongs such as mass migration, demographic expansion, propaganda, financial conquest and physical force. The terrorists are just the latter prong. The big problem are those millions of (peaceful!) Muslims whose ideology doesn’t tolerate individual rights. You’ll only notice that when the muslim percentage is too high to push back against. Your concept of individual rights goes in submission when a certain proportion of other individuals around you want to replace it with Shariah. The whole capitalism/socialist/mixed economy debate becomes pure trivia.

    No real vetting procedure exists when you notice that the (peaceful) close relations of many a violent jihadi claim to be shocked by his crime. No state process can see or predict what any one individual may do with any accuracy. But on the widest cultural scale any honest person can see what islam as a whole will do. Maybe objectivists are blinded by hyper-individualism that lets them see only one tree at a time, since forests are a collectivist construct.

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Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to read the THOMAS SOWELL column in your hometown paper.


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