Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out." …
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Image of the Day: Americans' Shrinking Earnings Under Joe Biden

Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out."  But the numbers don't lie, and the ugly reality is that he's only dragging us all toward the bottom.  Throughout his presidency, wage gains (green) have been consistently exceeded by inflation (blue), meaning loss in real earnings (red):

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="455"] Bidenomics Means Lost Earnings[/caption]…[more]

May 19, 2024 • 11:05 PM

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Mythologizing the Syrian Refugee Crisis Print
By Ben Boychuk
Thursday, November 19 2015
We know ISIS is exploiting the Syrian refugee crisis to move its fighters into Europe, because their leaders have said so and we’ve seen the results in Paris.

Humanitarian gestures are well and good, but not when they come at the expense of the nation’s security. So it’s more than a little irritating to hear liberals chide conservatives — and the broader American public — that halting the relocation of Syrian refugees to the United States is the height of callousness and un-American besides.

President Obama himself took that line this week during a press conference in Antayla, Turkey at the start of the G20 summit.

“When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted,” Obama said, in a thinly veiled reference to U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. “That’s shameful…. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

In fact, as Andrew McCarthy points out at National Review, we do.

“Under federal law,” McCarthy writes, “the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission ‘must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.’”

Beyond the technical requirements of the law, however, the president and his supporters seem to possess a romantic understanding at best of America’s posture toward immigrants and refugees. Contrary to widespread belief, our nation’s immigration laws are not confined to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. We don’t take all comers. We’ve always had rules and always been discriminating about who gets in and who doesn’t.

George Washington summarized the early American understanding, broadly speaking. “The bosom of America,” he wrote on December 2, 1783, “is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.” 

Notice the caveat at the end: “if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

In Washington’s famous 1790 letter to the Jewish congregation in Newport, R.I., the first president wrote, “For, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” Once again, the qualification is crucial. The United States will welcome just about anyone — just as long as they comport with our customs and rules.

This week, Washington’s heir sounded quite a bit more condescending. “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” President Obama said. “We don’t make good decisions if they’re based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

Nor do we make good decisions when we’re dismissive of legitimate concerns about the refugee vetting process.

Different situations require different responses. The United States changed its refugee policy in the mid-1970s to accommodate boatloads of Vietnamese and Cambodians fleeing their murderous Communist rulers. Congress adjusted the law again in 1980 to handle an influx of Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro.

But note the circumstances. The United States played a rather large role in instigating that refugee crisis from Southeast Asia 40 years ago. And Cuba is 90 miles off the coast of Florida. What’s nearer is dearer.

Instead of evaluating our present situation, we’re left with fatuous claims, such as the one making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook and rehearsed by everyone from left-wing U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and the Southern Poverty Law Center to the libertarians at Reason magazine. Maybe you’ve seen it: “750,000 refugees have been resettled in America since 9/11. Not one has been arrested on domestic terrorism charges.”

Is that true? No, it is not true.

Turns out, much hinges on the phrase “domestic terrorism.” Because the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have in fact arrested at least three resettled refugees from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, though they weren’t charged with planning to attack the United States. Two Iraqis in Bowling Green, Ky., were arrested for attempting to buy heavy weapons and ship them to al Qaeda terrorists abroad.

Three may be small, but three is more than zero. FBI Director James Comey last month told a congressional committee that “a number of people who were of serious concern” had slipped through as war refugees. “There’s no doubt,” Comey said, “that was the product of a less than excellent vetting.”

Comey went on to explain that vetting the Syrian refugees would be more challenging. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States had soldiers and spies gathering information on the native population for years, we don’t have that capability in Syria. There are no databases to check, no sources to corroborate.

“If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our data,” Comey testified. “I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated with this.” Perhaps Comey should remind his boss.

We know ISIS is exploiting the Syrian refugee crisis to move its fighters into Europe, because their leaders have said so and we’ve seen the results in Paris. Just this week, Honduran authorities detained five Syrians trying to enter the country with fake Greek passports, and Turkey arrested eight jihadists posing as Syrian refugees.

As it happens, the Wall Street Journal recently reported a brisk trade in stolen and forged passports in Turkey. Some of the phony refugees are gaming Europe’s immigration laws in search of work or welfare. But others clearly have more nefarious motives.

One of the Paris jihadists reportedly had a fake Syrian passport with him. Some commentators seized on that story as evidence that the Syrian refugees aren’t the real problem. On the contrary, it’s strong evidence that the massive and often chaotic influx of refugees into Europe has given terrorists the opportunity they need to move freely now and wreak havoc later.

Truth is, the Syrian refugees themselves are not the problem. The size, scope, logistical and security challenges surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis are the problem.

When considering our refugee policy, it isn’t wrong to ask if the risks outweigh the rewards. Nor is it callous to ask what’s in it for us. Knowing what we know now, the United States shouldn’t willingly import more potential threats as a gesture of goodwill.

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