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7th Circuit Rebukes Pence Overreach and Anti-Refugee Hysteria

Hmm… looks as if the Aberdeen High School Democrats are right, and Ron BranstnerAl 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:

  1. The United States has a thorough two-year refugee vetting process.
  2. No evidence supports claims that Syrian refugees pose a terrorist threat to us.
  3. Denying federal funds to Syrian refugees admitted to the country is illegal.
  4. 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:

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.

Connor Park (screen cap from KDLT, 2016.09.30)
Connor Park (screen cap from KDLT, 2016.09.30)

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.


  1. Adam 2016-10-04 01:12

    The best way to stop these crazy bastards is to elect the people who have guts to stand up to them, point them out for madness they believe in, and kick their ass in world of common sense and morality.

    It can only be done in the voting booth.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-04 07:10

    Electing the right people is one key part of the overall response, Adam. As Senator, I will be in a better position to speak to the press and the public and present evidence, fact, and law that refute claims like Pence’s and Branstner’s. But there will still be much work for elected officials, journalists, and other citizens of good conscience to do to beat back ignorance and fear.

  3. bearcreekbat 2016-10-04 12:34

    Great post Cory – thanks!

  4. ele 2016-10-04 13:03

    Funny. The anti-refugee resettlement is called “hysteria”, but not the BLM reaction of street rioting and looting ,destruction of private property and assaults both verbal and physical, against innocent cops, blacks and whites. Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter Supporters (Social Experiment) – YouTube

  5. bearcreekbat 2016-10-04 14:28

    Unfortunately ele posts a video designed to create fear and prejudice against black people based on some guy’s edit.

    The “Black Lives Matter” movement was designed to protest against our failure to hold police accountable when they kill black people who are no threat, unarmed, or otherwise could be dealt with without deadly force. It recognizes that when an officer kills a white person in similar circumstances, the officer is normally charged with a crime and loses his or her job as a police officer. By saying “Black Lives Matter” protesters are complaining that there are no similar meaningful consequences to police who kill blacks. There is no threat, direct or implied, against non-black people.

    The “All Lives Matter” movement protests something completely different. It protests the supporters of Black Lives Matter. It relies on an unrelated premise (all lives matter) to tell blacks to shut up because no one should care about discriminatory treatment of blacks nor about preferential treatment of police that improperly kill and assault black people. It is a direct affirmation of society’s tendency to support, rather than hold accountable, police officers who improperly kill black people.

    “Black Lives Matter” is a call to stop the killing and assaults on blacks and to hold those officers who wrongfully kill blacks accountable. “All Lives Matter” is an angry response that attempts to diminish those folks who complain about the lack of justice.

    Given that background, is it really surprising that the video maker was able to find some blacks who became angry when he brought an “All Lives Matter” poster into a black neighborhood?

  6. ele 2016-10-04 14:44

    Unfortunately bearcreekbat just gives his opinion without noting any links to substantiate his opinion. BTW he didn’t explain the “BLM reaction of street rioting and looting ,destruction of private property and assaults both verbal and physical, against innocent cops, blacks and whites.” All of which IS documented.

  7. Adam 2016-10-04 14:54

    I’ve been watching these All Lives Matter people for a while. They pretend that black people are unreasonably selfish in seeking greater equality. Clearly, what Black Lives Matter has been trying to get through to people is truly that all lives matter. Some people just don’t want to get it.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-04 16:26

    Bear, Adam, do I even need to respond to Ele’s distraction? I explained what Judge Posner wrote for the Seventh Circuit. Posner’s ruling clearly rebuts the main claims made by Gov. Pence and the Branster Klan. Posner’s ruling says the anti-refugee sentiment fueling Pence’s policy and the Aberdeen meetings is baseless “nightmare speculation”… or hysteria.

    Let’s not take the spotlight off the main point of this post: on refugees, Pence and Branstner are wrong. That’s not propaganda from some scheming liberal out to destroy America; that’s the conclusion of judges favored by Scalia and Trump.

  9. mike from iowa 2016-10-04 16:35

    bcb is a revered godlike apparition around here. Disrespect him at your peril.

  10. Craig 2016-10-04 16:45

    ele that is quite a distraction – apparently you’re not a fan of discussing the actual topic.

    That said, even without clicking your link I already know what the video is as I’ve seen it shared by several close-minded individuals on facebook already. There are a few issues with it however. First, notice the difference in the two locations? One appears to be a nice strip mall location, the other an empty lot in a run down neighborhood.

    Why didn’t the actor (and yes that is essentially what he is) bring his black lives matter into a predominantly white trailer park full of lifted trucks with NRA stickers on the rear window? Seems like that would have been a more equal comparison to see what the reactions would have been.

    Second – I’ve seen enough of these videos to know that often they are staged. This is why they blur out some faces because if a friend or family member sees them they don’t want to have to explain whey they were trying to assault someone on video. Remember that video of a blind man asking for change for his $5 bill a while back (which was actually a $50)? Remember how so many people took advantage of his disability? Yes – it was all staged in order for the video to go viral and earn some income from the views.

    The truth is we can find violent and close-minded people everywhere that don’t want to hear your message. But if you go out looking for a reaction to fit your narrative, I’m quite sure you would find it. It is very easy to make a video show what you want it to show when you pick the locations, you pick the actors, you pick the message, and you decide which footage is in the video vs. what is never shown.

    All that video tells us is that the people sharing it either A) wish to reinforce their existing viewpoint by ignoring logic, B) are incapable of critical thinking, or C) all of the above.

  11. happy camper 2016-10-04 17:04

    BCB is a liberal dreamer willing to trump real world application with theory. Yeah yeah yeah if we do this we’ll get this result but you don’t know that until it’s been proven and working that way after being in place.

    She adds, “ISIS can just be reformed under a different name. You need to change the narrative to change people’s minds. They are brainwashing people, and I think one of the ways to take action against that is to expose their brutality and their corruption.”

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-04 17:18

    Holy cow—let’s float this unpleasant comparison:

    Number of Americans killed by ISIS terrorists masquerading as Syrian refugees: zero.

    Number of unarmed black Americans killed by police: greater than zero.

    I justify no violence, but if we must succumb to ele’s distraction, then let’s at least admit that black Americans have empirical evidence to support their fears or police.

  13. bearcreekbat 2016-10-04 18:12

    Sorry about the distraction Cory, but ele’s post was so very misleading and was such a cheap attempt to demean blacks that I took the bait. By now I should know better than to let myself get trolled.

    The decision by the 7th Circuit is a testament to the truth of our refugee reality. Perhaps a quick read might calm ele, happy and others who live in fear of Syrian men, women and children seeking safety and a better life in the great USA.

  14. Adam 2016-10-04 18:13

    When it comes to single mothers and children fleeing war torn ravaged countries for a better life, I don’t think Christians can oppose offering refuge to these folks, in America, without making Jesus cry a little, angering The Lord, and denying The Holy Spirit.

    In fact, they’d better hope they’ve done enough good deeds in their life to compensate for the giant sin of refusing these well vetted, poor folks, refuge from a hell on Earth which no one ever deserved.

  15. leslie 2016-10-04 18:56

    joey salads- what a spin job. ele-why u waste my time on such trash. Black lives matter because blacks are in danger at traffic stops for their skin color. here, Indian lives matter for the same reason. Muslim lives matter as is obvious if you listen to trump and if you like joey, you obviously like trump. trump is a idiot and if you can’t see that, then I understand your effort making this silly video. Strong Second Amendment supporters need to understand it came from Black hunting militias is the several orginating states, mostly in the South. Joey and ele, get a little education before spinning, please. geez

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-04 19:18

    Bear, you need not apologize for the distraction. You saw a racially charged statement, and you attempted to rectify the misunderstanding lest it fuel more racism. Such is the quandary people of good conscience face when others try to distract us from the main message.

  17. Don Coyote 2016-10-04 19:28

    @Adam:” In fact, they’d better hope they’ve done enough good deeds in their life to compensate for the giant sin of refusing these well vetted, poor folk…”

    Most Protestant denominations believe in the doctrine of sola fide (by faith alone) which asserts that God’s forgiveness is granted to and received through faith alone and excludes all works/deeds.

    And remember that FBI Director James Comey admitted that the vetting process is imperfect.

    “We can only query against that which we have collected. If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home but we are not going to — there will be nothing show up because we have no record on that person.”

  18. Adam 2016-10-04 19:51

    I do not subscribe to the idea that as long as a practicing racist truly believes in his/her idea of God then he/she will be forgiven. I just can’t do it. I won’t.

    I have an emmense and very intimate experience with black poverty and white racism where I grew up. I can assure you, after decades of careful analysis, and my youth in Catholic schools, racists need to get their sh!t together or I just can’t imagine how they could avoid burning in Hell for all eternity. They conveintly ignore how their thoughts effect their actions, and that [to me] is the nature of sin.

  19. Adam 2016-10-04 22:29

    Trump/Ponce want to shut you out of the U.S. if you’re Mexican, Muslim or Syrian.

    Sensible, moral, people just want to keep you out if you could actually be dangerous – looking at each refugee on a case by case basis.

    Poncey Scheme: the act of diguising your morally bankrupt views as something the rest of us might identify with.

  20. happy camper 2016-10-05 06:34

    I don’t see racially charged language in the same way some of you do. Maybe it’s not said PC, but you’re so ready to pounce if you sense divergent thinking. If you have a fundamental narrative, from the bible, from rigid liberal thinking, the conversation ends and that’s sad when people won’t go down to the truth because it’s not in line with their world view. Like Teresa May said this morning if you think you’re a world citizen you’re a citizen of nowhere. It is OK to care about American lives first and question what impact refugees could have on our country because the refugees have a history of not blending in Europe. Not everybody wants to be subject to your social experiments. No! Cause when you look back a lot of leftist policies have failed miserably.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-05 07:39

    Also unacceptable in the eyes of the Seventh Circuit and the Constitution is Mike Pence’s social experiment in discriminating against people based on national origin.

  22. mike from iowa 2016-10-05 08:02

    t is OK to care about American lives first and question what impact refugees could have on our country because the refugees have a history of not blending in Europe.

    If the first Americans listened to you, HC, there wouldn’t be an America.
    Your life is in more danger from right wing nutters running around armed to the teeth than from all the refugees you want kept out. You and I and most of us were privileged to be born in this nation. The cure for wingnut malaise just might be in one of these refugees. I say bring them on.

  23. Craig 2016-10-05 08:37

    “It is OK to care about American lives first and question what impact refugees could have on our country because the refugees have a history of not blending in Europe. Not everybody wants to be subject to your social experiments. No! Cause when you look back a lot of leftist policies have failed miserably.”

    So…xenophobia is the answer?

    Listen – I don’t wish to make assumptions about you, but I’d guess you aren’t Native American. Thus you’re already part of a social experiment and you can decide how well it has worked.

    A lot of leftist policies have failed? Perhaps, but a lot of right-wing policies have failed as well. Namely things like segregation and isolationism.

    We can live in fear that a refugee may end up being a bad person (and mark my words eventually one of them will be involved in some type of crime which will allow those on the right to scream “I told you so”), or we can live comfortably knowing that chances are if a terrorist wanted to harm Americans there is a lot easier way to do so than bothering with red tape and paperwork.

    I don’t think the fear of Syrian immigrants is a rational fear, and I’m willing to take a chance on them because that is the right thing to do as an American and the right thing to do as a decent human being.

  24. happy camper 2016-10-05 08:57

    You can make the argument if you include the data from Europe, or even here by recognizing the 2nd and 3rd generation often become radicalized rather than the first. We’ve just had 3 or 4 of those and quite a few Somalis from MN attempt to join ISIS. Clooney’s statement is interesting because she recognizes the importance of the narrative. Fundamentalist Islam is a radical way to shape a world view, so different from western values, so it strikes me so odd when an atheist does not want to consider the whole of it.

  25. Craig 2016-10-05 09:11

    We have had a lot of radicalized militia men in Oregon too…. probably should have stopped their ancestors at the border because a few generations later just look at what happened.

    But those Bundy guys were white so I suppose we should just ignore it.

    Every race, every religion, ever sect, every nationality will have nutjobs and criminals. We know we can’t prevent them from existing, so the best course of action is to continue making America the type of nation that builds people up and makes them love the American lifestyle. Once people see what is offered and the opportunities this nation has for them, they might not be so quick to attack it. That goes for immigrants just as it goes for natural born citizens.

  26. happy camper 2016-10-05 10:06

    The fact remains fundamentalist Muslims are much more different (and fundamentalist) from you than the wingnuts you hate. My head can’t wrap around why Mike hates them but wants to embrace a group that is actually more severe, misogynist, etc, other than on pure humanitarian grounds, but to deny the difference and not acknowledge the risk by saying “we are all the same” just defies logic.

    I spent last weekend with a friend her 25 year old looks like a young Osama bin Laden he’s half black half white and constantly asked if he is Muslim. She’s like most on DFP hates Trump completely, but I asked him about Muslim refugees. These kids grew up knowing what it’s like to be different and I’m not saying he has any special insight, but he thought migration is a worry. He and I went to the grocery store, a large corner market advertised in Spanish. We picked out our eggs, milk, and oatmeal and when we set them on the counter, the 20 something addressed me in Spanish, so I asked her to speak English which she could do perfectly. She didn’t want to speak English to me in our country. She got angry when I politely requested her to speak English to me. So don’t kid yourselves. People use things to separate, like language, but the worst must be a belief in god and related ideology that makes you feel superior to others who must be subservient to you based on an underlying belief that doesn’t even exist: That’s Islam. Learn more about the ideology and what they believe before insisting a liberal catch phrase like “we are all the same” sums it up all nice and pretty. This ain’t grade school we can handle the truth.

  27. happy camper 2016-10-05 10:13

    It really gets down to the god thing, Muhammad’s teachings are that Muslims are superior to infidels. Pay a tax for not being Muslim even the non-ISIS fundamentalists whoa! so far away from your liberal values of equality. They don’t like your beliefs! And when they can they incorporate their own value system as they do in highly populated areas of Europe using Sharia courts privately and voluntarily (yet outside western laws).

  28. bearcreekbat 2016-10-05 10:55

    Those who are in such fear of kids in the second or third generation in a refugee family might want to stop and ask why are these kids radicalized. Could it have anything to do with hearing from Trump and similar talking individuals that these children and their families are different in a bad way and unwanted or not accepted here because of things the family cannot control, such as country of origin and skin color, or because they choose to exercise their first amendment right to adopt a religion you demonize (Islam)?

    Perhaps if we stopped legitimizing the demonization of innocent children and families merely because they have a different religion or originated in a different country it might lessen the likelihood of radicalization. Acceptance, empathy and compassion toward others is a strong antidote to radicalization.

  29. Craig 2016-10-05 11:01

    happy I’m sure there are sects within Islam that do believe they are superior to others, but there are many sects which don’t believe those things. India is home to around 175 million Muslims and we don’t hear of the problems there as we do in countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq etc.

    I don’t think those types of issues are isolated to one religion. There are sects of every major religion including Christianity which believe some fairly outrageous things. This is why I try to see people as human beings rather than as Muslims or Christians or Democrats or Republicans. I won’t say I’m always successful as it is easy to make assumptions about people based upon their affiliations, but I try.

  30. Craig 2016-10-05 11:04

    ele it is clear you are just trolling and citing incidents to support your viewpoints that blacks are somehow inferior or more prone to violence than whites. It is intellectually dishonest and relies upon logical fallacies.

    If you wish to be a racist there is no need to dance around the issue.

  31. ele 2016-10-05 11:20

    Craig It is clear you have nothing more to add to the discussion but insults and innuendos toward anyone you don’t agree with. Instead of convincing us that we’re wrong, you just vilify and dismiss us. I have bookmarked this page and hope I never have to come back to post “I told you so”. Good luck to you all as apparently all you have going for you is “luck”.

  32. mike from iowa 2016-10-05 11:51

    There is no convincing Drumpf troops they, or he, is totally wrong and nucking futz, besides.

    I read yesterday HRC is sending kristians to detention camps. I heartily agree any number of these chicken littles deserve to be locked away, but, it ain’t going to happen unless it is under a rwnj like Drumpf. Dumbass Dubya’s administration wanted to send Central American refugees to FEMA camps-under the auspices of convicted felon Ollie “shred the constitution and lie about it” North.

  33. happy camper 2016-10-05 11:55

    BCB I hear you and why I read about Europe. The poor Muslims live in ghettos and the French investigator felt there was a “critical mass” she called it when there were so many strident, fervent Muslims surround by an abundant number of fundamentalists, that the dominance of their beliefs spread.

  34. mike from iowa 2016-10-05 12:00

    gatewaypundit claims between 9 and 60 people beat the Alabama teen. Over dramatize much.

  35. happy camper 2016-10-05 12:25

    One thing to remember in Charlotte the cop who shot the black man was also black. So I asked my friend’s kids about that since they are mixed race in a high crime area. They said it is about power not race. Fortunately we are able to talk openly and ask some very direct questions. He got called a nigger by the college football coach (scholarship in a different state) so his mother pulled him out. His grandfather on the black side is still angry that he quit and told him he should have toughened up.

  36. jerry 2016-10-05 12:31

    I don’t know what you read in Europe happy camper, but think that you must just pull it out of your nether region. I go there, have family there and see nothing of the kind there. You are mistaken old boy, sadly mistaken. I did have to laugh at your link regarding recruitment in Minnesota, not once in the article did I notice that Syria is suddenly now part of Europe. Missed that while looking at the current world map. Yours must be one of those Ottoman ones or something before Columbus or before that even.

  37. jerry 2016-10-05 12:35

    Of course that makes being a policeman the coolest, always make sure you shoot to kill the guy that is the same color as you. The policeman has armor on and is a paid public servant to serve and protect. That does not mean to kill the prospect, it means to bring control to a situation. Now, as seen in the video, there were more than one police officer present. Could they have taken the suspect down without lethal force? Are they not trained in how to use their weapons accurately?

  38. jerry 2016-10-05 12:39

    mfi, if you liked that one, check this one out. It is open season on the abuse being handed out by the same bunch that endorsed Trump, the FOP by almost 80%.

  39. jerry 2016-10-05 12:49

    In the United States and in one state in particular, we do have a state religion that will be the subject of a prayer day on October 13, 2016. Those pesky Muslims do not have that kind of thing, so there is that. We win!!

  40. happy camper 2016-10-05 13:12

    Not winning Jerry atheists (or anyway I do) see believers being not as logical as they could be accepting superstition so it should be ok to look and question the beliefs of others. Cultural differences are real. To some extent this is a false equivalency, but Chimpanzees are very male dominated with a lot of violence in their social setting, but Bonobos which are very close genetically are female dominated and it’s quite peaceful. The role the females play changed the social structure which could happen but we need to put light on what’s happening not make excuses for it in the name of multiculturalism which is supposed to be tolerance of one another not suicide.

  41. jerry 2016-10-05 13:20

    I would agree that Pence is really a Chimpanzee as you note, that is aggressive and hates women along with being violent towards any religion that is not his own. Good point.

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-05 20:18

    So whatever ele is afraid of, the fact remains: Governor Pence and Ron Branstner are wrong. They are fanning fears with no evidence of real threat. And it wasn’t some liberal website saying so; it was three well-known jurists, two of them clearly conservatives of Pence’s and Trump’s flavor.

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