Vets or Refugees? How About Both

Here’s where I’m coming from

  1. Data and facts are different.  Data is rightly subject to evaluation and interpretation.  Facts are what they are.  For example, in the recent ‘alternative facts’ discussion White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “The press was trying to make it seem like we were ignoring the facts when the facts are that sometimes … you look at a situation … in the same way you can look at a weather report,” Spicer said on “Hannity.” “One weather report comes out and says it’s going to be cloudy and the next one says there’s going to be light rain. No one lied to you.”  It is true that you can interpret weather data differently and come up with a different forecast.  That’s data and it should be evaluated and interpreted.  What is not up for debate is the fact of what yesterday’s weather actually was.  That cannot be subject to a great deal of interpretation. If it was 60 degrees, it was 60 degrees.
  2. It is a fact that we have not historically treated our military veterans well.  This needs to change.
  3. It is a fact that immigration processes and refugee processes are different, though there is some confusion about this.  I saw this meme the other day and I refute the statement that Syrian refugees get in without any vetting.  Refugees have an extensive process they go through, lasting 18-24 months. At that point a response called me stupid.  Maybe so, but that doesn’t change the fact refugees are vetted.
  4. It is a fact that we are at risk and under a constant threat of acts of terror.  There are people in many countries who work actively to do harm to the United States and our interests worldwide.  We cannot put our blinders on and ignore this.
  5. It is also true that the Bible tells us to take care of foreigners and refugees.  Many faith organizations are making their positions clear on this.
  6. The vetting process for refugees works pretty well.  Near as I can find out there have been no documented acts of terror committed in this country by any refugees.  There have been three refugees arrested for plotting things but rather than being a problem it suggests the vetting and resettlement system actually works.  Still, there’s no reason we shouldn’t put resources into making certain we’re doing the vetting process as best as we can.
  7. Entering the country illegally is, well, illegal.  Preventing the illegal entry of people isn’t unreasonable and is in fact necessary for our security.
  8. Building an expensive wall is not likely the best way to do this, however attractive it seems to some folks.  I mean the visual of a wall is compelling if you’re after complete blockage.  Even so, there are better ways to secure our southern border than a wall that isn’t likely to do much in all actuality.  There are expense and logistics challenges, there are treaty challenges, and there is the challenge of who will pay for it and how.  I’m pretty sure it won’t be Mexico, rhetoric from the President notwithstanding. We can come up with creative uses of technology to help with security.
  9. Fear is a poor basis for decision making.  It leads us down all kinds of unfortunate paths.  I blogged about this last year and while I won’t use derogatory terms toward the office of the President now, I stand by what I said then.

What it comes down to is we can come up with a solution that doesn’t hurt people, not to mention our international reputation, nor undermine our core values, and in fact helps both .  And make no mistake, our international reputation matters.  If we don’t handle our foreign policy carefully we run into creating MORE risk rather than reducing it.  That doesn’t mean we have to make everyone happy, it means we must be wise in our decisions and play the long game.

Simply put, skip the idea of the wall that won’t accomplish much anyways and then put that money toward helping veterans as well as tightening up and enhancing both our refugee vetting process and our border security.

It isn’t that we don’t have the money to help both, we simply choose not to.


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