Hmm… looks as if the Aberdeen High School Democrats are right, and Ron Branstner, Al Novstrup, and Amanda Hubbs and Jessica Carroll are wrong. Not only did the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today uphold an injunction on Governor Mike Pence’s illegal effort to block refugee resettlement in Indiana, but the court also demolish every leg of the case anti-refugee shouters try to make to disguise their Klannish xenophobia as responsible security policy.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals explains that the United States vets refugees:
…all persons seeking to enter the United States as refugees are required to undergo multiple layers of screening by the federal government, following screening by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, before they can be admitted to the United States. The process can take up to two years [Judge Richard Posner, ruling, Exodus v. Pence No. 1:15-cv-01858, U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 2016.10.03, p. 2].
The court dismisses Governor Pence’s claimed fears of Syrian terrorist infiltrators as baseless:
The governor of Indiana believes, though without evidence, that some of these persons were sent to Syria by ISIS to engage in terrorism and now wish to infiltrate the United States in order to commit terrorist acts here. No evidence of this belief has been presented, however; it is nightmare speculation.
…The governor’s brief asserts “the State’s compelling interest in protecting its residents from the well‐documented threat of terrorists posing as refugees to gain entry into Western countries.” But the brief provides no evidence that Syrian terrorists are posing as refugees or that Syrian refugees have ever committed acts of terrorism in the United States. Indeed, as far as can be determined from public sources, no Syrian refugees have been arrested or prosecuted for terrorist acts or attempts in the United States. And if Syrian refugees do pose a terrorist threat, implementation of the governor’s policy would simply increase the risk of terrorism in whatever states Syrian refugees were shunted to. Federal law does not allow a governor to deport to other states immigrants he deems dangerous; rather he should communicate his fears to the Office of Refugee Resettlement [Posner, 2016.10.03, pp. 3, 5].
The court says Governor Pence accepted federal money meant to help refugees “without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, or political opinion” (that’s federal law), then attempted to refuse aid based on nationality:
He argues that his policy of excluding Syrian refugees is based not on nationality and thus is not discriminatory, but is based solely on the threat he thinks they pose to the safety of residents of Indiana. But that’s the equivalent of his saying (not that he does say) that he wants to forbid black people to settle in Indiana not because they’re black but because he’s afraid of them, and since race is therefore not his motive he isn’t discriminating. But that of course would be racial discrimination, just as his targeting Syrian refugees is discrimination on the basis of nationality [Posner, 2016.10.03, p. 5].
Finally, as if anticipating that Governor Pence might respond to this court loss by taking Texas’s route and withdrawing from the federal refugee resettlement program completely, he still can’t achieve his ratty policy goal of keeping Syrians out of Indiana:
A final oddity about the governor’s position is how isolated it is. There are after all fifty states, and nothing to suggest that Indiana is a magnet for Syrians. Although in the fall of 2015 a number of state governors issued statements opposing the resettlement of Syrian in their domains, their opposition petered out. Since then Syrian refugees have been resettled in 40 states (Indiana of course is one of them), and there is no indication that their absence from the other 10 is attributable to actions by state governments. Indiana is free to withdraw from the refugee assistance program, as other states have done; yet withdrawal might not interrupt the flow of Syrian refugees to the state because in states that choose not to participate in the refugee assistance program the federal government has been authorized to establish an alternative program, called Wilson/Fish, that distributes federal aid to refugees in a state without the involvement of the state government [Posner, 2016.10.03, pp. 5–6].
So, Branstnerian fearmongers, let’s review:
- The United States has a thorough two-year refugee vetting process.
- No evidence supports claims that Syrian refugees pose a terrorist threat to us.
- Denying federal funds to Syrian refugees admitted to the country is illegal.
- Individual states cannot block admitted refugees of any nationality, religion, etc. from traveling and settling where they wish in the United States.
And let’s review who tells us these facts:
- Judge Richard Posner, the most cited legal scholar of all time;
- Judge Frank Easterbrook, the jurist Antonin Scalia would have picked as his own replacement; and
- Judge Diane Sykes, one of the potential Supreme Court nominees touted by Governor Pence’s pal and Grand Wizard of xenophobia Donald Trump.
Posner, Easterbrook, and Sykes can’t all be working for the Muslim Brotherhood, can they?
We don’t need to engage any further with our local Branstner Klansters. We just need to send them copies of Posner’s ruling, an authoritative rebuke to anti-refugee fearmongering and the bogus attempt to reframe local elections in terms of national alt-right jabber.
Related: Last Thursday, the Sioux Falls Police Department arrested Sioux Falls Regional Airport security screener Connor Park, age 22, for making terroristic threats last week. Hard to tell what country he’s from, but surely Mike Pence and Ron Branstner will want to keep America safe from Park’s fellow countrymen.