Wish to send a rebuttal? Post a comment in rebuttal?
Have credible sources please. Our page desires are: to allow a platform to explore the issue of national security as it relates primarily to Islam, and also, to invite all of any stripe, to join in productive searches of the various serious topics associated.
Thank You [Americans First, Task Force; Facebook post; 2017.09.01]
That no one in the task force threw a “credible sources” flag at Loudon during his speech is hypocritical. That about a hundred Aberdonians and a few Republican legislators listened is embarrassing and alarming. That attendance is down from previous AF,TF hate rallies is only mildly encouraging.
The Court’s ruling allows the Trump White House to keep out visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen and refugees in general unless those individuals have family, jobs, university admission, or some similar “bona fide” relationship stateside. Absent any such bona fide relationship, the government’s compelling interest in national security prevails unchecked:
The interest in preserving national security is “an urgent objective of the highest order.” Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U. S. 1, 28 (2010). To prevent the Government from pursuing that objective by enforcing §2(c) against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure its interests, without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else.
…An American individual or entity that has a bona fide relationship with a particular person seeking to enter the country as a refugee can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded. As to these individuals and entities, we do not disturb the injunction. But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security [Supreme Court of the United States, Per Curiam, Trump v. IRAP and Trump v. Hawaii, 2017.06.26].
The case may moot itself before the Supreme Court hears arguments on the merits in October, since the travel ban lasts only 90 days. The Economistreads sneaky genius on the part of Chief Justice John Roberts:
So, despite granting Mr Trump’s plea to hear his case and largely lifting the lower-court stays on the travel ban, Chief Justice John Roberts apparently worked out an ingenious compromise with his liberal brethren and the swing justice, Anthony Kennedy, that injects the Supreme Court only minimally into a big question on the scope of executive power in the Trump era. The chief justice has avoided making politically volatile judicial pronouncements on presidential immigration powers, anti-Muslim bias and the justiciability of tweets, and has positioned himself somewhere to the left of the court’s new conservative triumvirate [“The Supreme Court’s Curious Compromise on the Travel Ban,” The Economist, 2017.06.26].
But let’s entertain Senator Nelson’s position. Suppose Ms. Islam and I are wrong. Suppose the anti-Muslim propagandists to whom we’ve been responding are 100% correct: Muslims are waging civilization jihad, every mosque is a bastion of jihadi occupation, every Muslim will lie and do violence for Allah, and every liberal or Christian who promotes honest dialogue with Muslims is a dupe supporting terrorism and Sharia. I am not exaggerating—such are the core tenets of every presentation made by the anti-Muslim speakers whom Senator Nelson praises and whom Ms. Islam and I have decried.
If Senator Nelson and those tenets are correct and Ms. Islam and I mere dupes, then today’s ruling by the Supreme Court leaves America open to jihad. The anti-Muslim slideshows in Rapid City, Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, and elsewhere teach that all Muslims our out to topple Western civilization. These slideshows make no exception for Muslims with “bona fide” relationships with American citizens or institutions. The Muslims among us are part of the threat, perhaps the greater threat, since they have already established homes, mosques, income streams, and (gasp!) citizenship that allows them to vote, run for office, and change our laws to Sharia. The Supreme Court’s partial implementation of the travel ban does nothing to stop those most dangerous Muslims among us from bringing in their sisters and brothers and other partners in jihad.
If Senator Nelson were right, if I were defending radical Islamic terrorism, if I were faking peaceful atheism to hide a craving for violent theocracy, then I would cheer the Court as nine more useful dupes in jihad. Far from supporting the Commander in Chief’s “number one responsibility… to keep the American people safe,” the Court’s ruling leaves the door open for evil Muslims in America to invite their evil cousins from overseas and for those scheming liberal universities to keep recruiting jihadi students and professors.
The radical xenophobes of Aberdeen’s absurdly commafied “Americans First, Task Force” continue to stroke their anti-Muslim bigotry. Under a post about the London van/knife attack last Saturday, AF,TF writes (with more inept puncutation), “This attack is sad. However, what is equally said is the grave narrative: Islam is a religion of peace, will continue to to be sold to the public, as the blood of the Islamic terrorist victims still wets the ground.”
Panic and hatred flow forth in the comments, with just a couple glimmers of hope and patriotic rejection of stereotyping:
Some neighbors try to call out the xenophobes but are met with paranoia impervious to reason… and a call to deport all Muslims:
Aberdeen City Council candidate Kaleb Weis posts a slogan blurb on his campaign Facebook page about needing to “find ways to help out newest citizens acclimate to our culture while learning and understanding the laws that keep us all safe and living harmoniously…” a funny thing for a city council candidate to talk about, since such education is the purview of the school board, an office for which he did not run. This comment draws out more xenophobia which he lets stand with correction on his campaign page:
“Remove all refugees… deport them”—how cowardly, un-American, and un-Christian.
I’m pleased to see at least a few of my neighbors trying to fight back against the ignorance and hatred in our midst.
Feven Goitom didn’t speak much English when she started at Whittier Middle School six years ago.
Goitom, who was born in Eritrea, spent six years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia before coming to the United States at age 13.
…The 19-year-old will graduate Sunday with some early college credits, which she’ll take with her to Regis University in Denver where she has a full-ride scholarship for the fall.
She hopes to study biology and go on to medical school, a passion stemming from her time in Ethiopia.
…As she prepares to leave high school, Goitom has nothing but good things to say about Washington and how welcomed she’s been by students in the Sioux Falls community, a community she hopes to return to someday as a physician.
Former legislator Stan Adelstein, a sponsor of this blog, reminds us that refugees provide great service to the country that welcomes them. In this case, the refugee in question is the mother of Adelstein’s children:
75 years ago my children’s mother arrived on the last refugee ship from Europe in New York City, after fleeing for 18 months. Her parents, herself and brother and sister were barred by a quota – not very different from a quota now proposed.
…Two of her two sons, born in freedom, committed their careers two public service. Her oldest, a West Point graduate, Special Forces Lt. Col. and senior staffer for Sen. Mike Rounds; her youngest a Commissioner of the US Federal Communications Commission, as well as director of the Rural Utilities Service. Two US SD US Senators, of different parties told me that they were the most effective and committed members of their staff.
Who might be those gifted servants of America, never to be born, because their mother was not permitted to enter this promised land of freedom [Stanford Adelstein, “A Mother’s Day Tribute to a Refugee Mother,” A Way to Go, 2017.05.09].
When we turn our backs to refugees, we turn our backs to more than our American principles. We turn out backs to future patriots.
Speaker of the House G. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) is a funny guy. The Legislature’s 2017 Interim Study Survey included a comment section where Speaker Mickelson submitted this important guidance for his colleagues’ consideration:
The non-meandered waters issue will take some serious thinking… or maybe just a new survey and a big round of eminent domain (because ultimately, that’s what the fishing advocates are after, the state finishing the taking that the rain gods started). But workforce housing? Come on, G. Mark—that’s just another issue where Republicans and business owners are going to ignore the obvious solution: raise wages, and workers can afford to fix up or buy houses. (There, done, saved you three meetings.)
76 of our 105 legislators* responded to the interim study survey by April 12. Summing their rankings produces this list of preferred topics:
Legislators came nowhere near taking my dare to put refugees on the interim agenda: the three refugee-related topics finished 14th, 19th, and dead-last 22nd. Adding those three topics’ rank points still wouldn’t have beat non-meandered waters or workforce housing (or #3, issues facing the new Government Accountability Task Force). The least popular of those three refugee study proposals, Study “K”, came from Democratic Senator Reynold Nesiba, whose District 15 includes a lot of refugees have settled in Sioux Falls. His proposal was phrased favorably toward refugees, immigrants, and religious minorities, seeking study of these questions:
How do we ameliorate differences and better facilitate cross-cultural understanding to more quickly and effectively integrate new South Dakotans into our workplaces?
What is already working at firms with diverse workforces?
What obstacles exist to further integration? How do we overcome these?
What? Senator Nesiba wanted to get rid of obstacles to making new people part of South Dakota? No wonder it came in last: the only other legislator to express interest in Senator Nesiba’s positive refugee proposal was fellow freshman Rep. Bob Glanzer, Republican from Huron, where a number of Karen refugees have settled to work at the turkey plant.
*p.s.:Legislators not responding by April 12 and not listed on survey tally:
Reps. Anderson, Bartling, Bordeaux, Brunner, Conzet, DiSanto (no guns on topic list, so boring!), Frye-Mueller, Goodwin, Hunhoff, Johns, Kaiser, Latterell, Marty, McCleery, McPherson, Kent Peterson (hey! Mr. Assistant Majority Leader! How about leading?), Qualm (hey! Mr. Majority Leader! Ditto!), Ring, Rozum, Smith, Wiese, and York;
Several proposed studies would focus on refugees. One would study the financial impact of resettlement on the South Dakota economy. A different one would look at the challenges and issues confronting refugees, examine why they have come to South Dakota and look at the impact of government policies on refugees. A Democratic lawmaker also proposed studying how to improve cross-cultural understanding to more effectively integrate immigrants, refugees and religious minorities into the state’s workforce [James Nord, “Refugees, Water Among Topics SD Lawmakers Could Study,” AP via Sioux City Journal].
I say do it. Do ’em all. Write down everything legislators say they want to know about refugees, and then let’s spend the summer gathering that data. Count up the folks who’ve fled persecution and war to find safe and stable homes here in South Dakota. Count up the jobs they do, the money they make, and the impact they have on the state and local economies. And go ahead: count up the crimes committed by people who’ve moved here from lands in political and economic turmoil, and then compare those crime rates with the trouble caused by newcomers in general and the local folks, White and Indian.
And while you’re at it, be sure to count up every South Dakota town where refugees have established Sharia law and no-go zones.
Get that data. Gather, publish, and discuss that data at public meetings throughout the state. And then demand that every bill in the 2018 Legislature daring to address refugees is based on that real, solid, vetted data, not baloney peddled by Neal Tapio, Clare Lopez, and other fabricating fearmongers.
On another front, Governing data maven Mike Maciag deems the link between immigrants and high crime rates “mythical“:
To shed light on this contention, Governing conducted an original analysis using recently released metro area population estimates from the Pew Research Center for “unauthorized immigrants” — people who crossed the border illegally or overstayed visas. The analysis not only found no link with violent crime, but indicated concentrations of unauthorized immigrants were associated with marginally lower violent crime rates. A statistically significant negative correlation was also shown for property crimes. For every 1 percentage-point increase in the unauthorized immigrant share of a metro area’s population, average property crime rates dropped by 94 incidents per 100,000 residents.
…Our analysis of the Pew data, while limited to a narrow time period, mirrors findings of broader academic research dismissing a relationship between foreign-born residents, regardless of legal status, and higher crime rates.
“The literature is pretty clear,” says Robert Adelman, an associate professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. “Results are strong and stable across time and place” [Mike Maciag, “The Mythical Link Between Immigrants and High Crime Rates,” Governing, 2017.03.02].
Maciag notes that misperceptions persist be
“There’s a long history in our country of immigrants being scapegoated for all sorts of things,” says Monica Varsanyi, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice associate professor. “They are easy targets” [Maciag, 2017.03.02].
SCR 15 is not on today’s Senate calendar, but Senator Tapio will shortly get his chance to work up his tears and false fears and bracket our Islamic neighbors with “radical” and “terrorism” on behalf of his patron the President. (According to FEC filings, on September 21, 2016, the Donald Trump campaign paid Neal Tapio $5,537.84 for “field consulting.”)
I don’t spend much time seating Legislative resolutions. They enact no policy; they mostly just scratch itches in our legislators’ dark and damp places.
But some resolutions expose the most vile impulses of some of our Republican legislators. In Senate Concurrent Resolution 15, Trumpist Senator Neal Tapio (R-5/Watertown) lures 20 co-sponsoring Republicans (including my entire District 3 delegation) into insulting refugees and Lutheran Social Services.
SCR 15 would issue “a vote of no confidence in the refugee resettlement program, and the administration thereof.” Tapio lacks the courage and honor to name Lutheran Social Services; the key Whereas clause only tags “the United Nations, the United States Department of State, and an unelected nonprofit organization” as “solely responsible for implementing the refugee resettlement program.”
Besides maligning good neighbors doing good work, Tapio fills SCR 15 with offensive rhetorical flailings.
The resolution opens with puffy phrases about our “open and pluralist society” and the “hope and freedom” we offer to “those living in fear and tyranny,” then proceeds to peddle Trumpist fear and signal that South Dakota doesn’t want refugees.
Tapio squeezes in his theocratic urges, claiming “America… constitutionally protects each person’s God-given freedom to think, believe, speak, and act….” Um, Neal? “America” as an open and pluralist society makes no official claim that freedoms are given by any one religion’s deity. The Legislature cannot do so without running afoul of one of those Constitutional protections, the Establishment Clause.
Tapio also sneaks in some bang-bangery, including as a Whereas, “these freedoms are so important, the United States Constitution provides the right to bear arms in order to protect those freedoms.” At best, that’s rambling, ungermane to the subject of LSS’s refugee resettlement efforts. At worst, it’s a veiled threat: You refugees get out of line, and we’ll shoot you!
SCR 15 asserts that “the State of South Dakota has ceded the state’s authority and has no direct influence on the implementation or administration of the refugee resettlement program.” What, did Tapio himself vote for Senate Bill 124, the formal ceding of that authority, just to give himself another Whereas? And does Tapio really believe states have any authority to cede in the properly federal issue of immigration?
SCR 15 puts on the record this wild generalization about every country from which refugees come:
…the societal impact of accepting refugees from countries where ninety-eight percent of females undergo forced female genital mutilation, where practices of honor killings and dancing chai boys exist, and where other cultural practices antithetical to freedom and liberty are exercised is unknown… [2017 SCR 15].
FGM is not concentrated in a majority of the countries from which our refugees came in 2016. And perhaps the proper policy response to this horrid practice is not to blacklist all people from those countries but make clear we offer women safe haven from this abuse.
As for “dancing chai boys” (the proper term appears to be bachabaze, an exploitative practice, banned by the Taliban but resurging since their fall) in which usually wealthy men force boys into sexual servitude), one would think refugees are more likely to be the disempowered victims of such abuse, not the powerful status-seekers who perpetuate it. And if Tapio wants to Legislatively pronounce an entire country suspect because of the pedophiliac practices of an elite few, then I look forward to his follow-up resolution warning the world about American visitors due to pedophile Catholic priests.
If anyone deserves a vote of no confidence, it’s not Lutheran Social Services, which works every day to help new Americans. It’s Trumpists like Tapio, Curd, and Novstrup, who tarnish the Legislature and South Dakota with insulting, ignorant measures like Senate Concurrent Resolution 15.