Friday, March 03, 2017
Are We Refugeed Out Yet?
There are more Iraqis living in the United States than there are in some major cities in Iraq. 156,000 Iraqi refugees have entered this country in just the last decade. 30,000 of those have ended up in California.
In Obama's first year in office, the United States resettled three-quarters of Iraqi refugees.
71% of Iraqi refugees are receiving cash assistance. 82% are on Medicaid and 87% are on food stamps. Compare those atrocious numbers to only 17% of Cubans on cash assistance and 16% on Medicaid.
It should be obvious why Obama shut the door on Cuban refugees while holding it wide open for Syrian Muslims (but closing it tightly on Syrian Christians), Iraqis and Somalis (77.4% food stamp use).
President Trump's migration pause was met with lectures about how much immigrants contribute to the economy. But the immigrants that the left likes are a drain. If the left finds immigrants who actually contribute to the economy, it fights tooth and nail to keep them out of the country. Notable Iraqi refugees include Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi.
Alwan and Hammadi were thoroughly vetted before they were resettled in Nevada and Kentucky. The only omission in their thorough vetting was an unfortunate failure to note that the refugees were terrorists who had spent years trying to kill American soldiers in Iraq.
Alwan had boasted that of how he had "f___d up" Hummers using IEDs and admitted to having taken part in an attack that killed Americans. He had even left his fingerprints on an IED in Iraq. But the thorough vetting had failed to turn that up.
Alwan and Hammadi tried to send grenade launchers, plastic explosives, missiles and machine guns to the branch of Al Qaeda that would become ISIS. Meanwhile the Al Qaeda in Iraq plotter had quit his job and was living in public housing and collecting public assistance. Like so many other "refugees".
And law enforcement was soon on the trail of dozens of terrorists who had arrived here as refugees.
The media has had a field day mocking Kellyanne Conway for referencing the fact that this Iraqi refugee terror plot resulted in a six month Iraqi immigration pause under Obama. No "Bowling Green Massacre" took place because the FBI was on to the two terrorists. Hammadi had been caught on tape discussing a domestic terror attack where "many things should take place and it should be huge."
Mocking Conway for misspeaking helpfully distracts attention from the massacre that nearly was.
And Alwan and Hammadi were far from the last Iraqi refugee terrorists.
Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan came here as a refugee. When the FBI searched his Houston apartment, agents found an ISIS flag. Hardan had been planning to leave bombs in the trash cans of two Houston malls. He had also been contemplating an attack on the Grand Prairie military base in Texas.
Hardan had been chatting with Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, another Iraqi refugee, over in California. Al-Jayab had come as a refugee through Syria, then began plotting to join a terrorist group on his first month here. He headed back to spend some time fighting with Islamic terrorists who later were linked to ISIS. Two of his brothers and a cousin were also arrested for smuggling stolen cell phones.
Al-Hamzah Mohammad Jawad, an Iraqi refugee from Michigan, was arrested while trying to join ISIS. Abdullatif Ali Aldosary set off a bomb outside a Social Security office in Arizona. The authorities found plenty of bombmaking materials in his home. He was also accused of a murder that had taken place a few days before the bombing and had previously been sent to jail for harassment. His case had been put on hold for "terrorism-related grounds of inadmissibility", but he still couldn't be deported.
And then there are the Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqi nationals who provided services to American forces. During the recent controversy, they have been depicted as heroes who helped us fight terrorism.
The reality is a lot more complicated.
Bilal Abood was a translator who came here on an SIV visa. He even briefly joined the army. On the surface he was exactly the sort of refugee that the media likes to depict as the ideal immigrant.
But Abood was also a member of ISIS. America was the "enemy of Allah", he insisted.
Even when the Iraqi SIVs weren't joining ISIS, they were doing other terrible things. Jasim Mohammed Hasin Ramadon and Ali Mohammed Hasan Al Juboori had come to this country with SIV visas.
Ramadon had even been dubbed a hero.
Then Ramadon, Juboori and three other Iraqi refugees brutally assaulted a 53-year-old Colorado Springs woman. When the police arrived at the scene of the Iraqi refugee sexual assault, they found blood splattered on the walls.
The Iraqi refugee rapists lured in their victim by complaining about how hard it was living in America and being called terrorists. The night nurse took pity on them because they reminded her of her son.
By the time the Iraqi refugees were done, she had been violated and left near death.
Ahmed Bahjat came here as a refugee from Iraq. He tried to leave by taking a plane to Canada after he "viciously sexually assaulted" a woman in Connecticut. Salam Al Haideri also came here as a refugee. He raped a 4'11 teenager behind a "I Love NY" pizza place dumpster while slamming her head into the ground. The Iraqi refugee's teenage 96-pound victim was left with broken ribs and a fractured nose.
Al Haideri was the third refugee to be convicted of a sex crime in the area.
Walid Nehma, another Iraqi refugee, also assaulted a woman in Albany County. After taking photos of women in local bars, he followed her, hit her in the face, tore off her clothes and tried to rape her.
Khalid Fathey had also received asylum after working with American authorities in Iraq. The Iraqi
refugee molested a little girl and warned her not to tell anyone. He fled trial by taking a flight to Dubai.
Kassim Alhimidi, an Iraqi refugee, murdered his wife in California and tried to blame it on American "Islamophobes."
Wisam Fadhil, an Iraqi refugee, stabbed his wife to death in Kentucky while their 8-year-old child slept in the room. He had previously assaulted a man at a gym. Do we need more of this?
Iraq is a failed state. Before we intervened, it was held together by torture, terror and genocide. Now the only things holding it together are torture, terror and genocide. We should take Christian refugees fleeing the Muslim conflicts in that country, but we should not import its Islamic culture of violence.
America has done far more than its share. We have opened our doors to Iraqi refugees. And in return, the people of this land were exposed to terror and horrific refugee crimes. Enough is enough.
There is a very rational solution to our immigration problem. Instead of taking in the refugees most likely to collect welfare or plant a bomb in a shopping mall, we should take those immigrants most likely to contribute to our economy and least likely to behead us while screaming, "Allah Akbar."
Don't call it a ban. Call it common sense immigration reform. Because that is exactly what it is.
We have the statistics. We know what works. All we need to do is start putting America first.
DOJ Drops Out of Lawsuit Against Texas' Voter ID Law
The Department of Justice informed the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center (CLC) that it would no longer be joining in a lawsuit against the state of Texas. The CLC had originally brought the lawsuit against the Lone Star State claiming that its voter ID law discriminated against minorities and the poor. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had last year ruled that the law was indeed discriminatory and ordered that it be changed before the November election.
The law, which had required a voter to establish proof of identification with any one of seven forms of ID, was expanded to allow the signing of an affidavit declaring an impediment to obtaining the required identification which then permitted voting. The Fifth Circuit will soon rule on whether the law was designed in order to discriminate against minority voters.
Meanwhile last Friday, Virginia Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have required “the local electoral boards to direct the general registrars to investigate the list of persons voting at an election whenever the number of persons voting at any election in a country or city exceeds the number of persons registered to vote in that county or city.” McAuliffe’s justification was that the bill would have imposed too much of a burden on local elections officials.
The motive for creating the bill was due to the unintentional discovery of over 1,000 people having illegally registered to vote in eight Virginia counties. It was not generated out of a merely reasonable yet hypothetical fear of voter fraud, but out of a genuinely verifiable one. And yet McAuliffe found the potential for over-burdening elections officials of greater concern than combatting the real threat of voter fraud. Talk about misplaced priorities.
An elected official’s job is to do the will of the people, and that will is most clearly voiced via the ballot box. Any elected official unconcerned with protecting the integrity of the vote displays a profound contempt for democratic processes to which they owe their privileged position of leadership.
A poll released by Gallup last August revealed that a vast majority of Americans favor some form of voter ID laws — this included majorities in both parties and both whites and non-whites. Opposing voter ID laws is not a winning issue for Democrats and is ironically un-democratic. All it does is continue to expose just how invested they are in opposing the sensible Rule of Law and the democratic process.
Just Because Liberals Call Something ‘Discrimination’ Doesn’t Mean It Actually Is
The biggest problem with current sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws—including “Fairness for All,” which proposes a grand-bargain compromise between SOGI laws and religious liberty—is that they do not appropriately define what counts as discriminatory.
As I explain in a new report for The Heritage Foundation, “How to Think About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Policies and Religious Freedom,” these are the laws that are being used to shutter Catholic adoption agencies, fine evangelical bakers, and force businesses and public facilities to allow men into women’s locker rooms.
The problem is that liberals are calling anything they dislike “discrimination.” But liberals are getting it wrong. To illustrate this, consider several different cases of putative “discrimination.” The law must be nuanced enough to capture the important differences in these cases.
Racially segregated water fountains were one form of discrimination that took race into consideration—in a context where it was completely irrelevant—and then treated blacks as second-class citizens precisely because they were black. The entire point was to classify on the basis of race in order to treat blacks as socially inferior.
As a result, such actions were rightly described as invidious race-based discrimination, and—given the entrenched, widespread, state-facilitated nature of the problem—they were rightly made unlawful.
Likewise, throughout much of American history, girls and women were not afforded educational opportunities equal to those available to boys and men. This form of discrimination took sex into consideration and then treated girls and women poorly precisely because of their sex, barring them from education in certain subjects or at certain levels despite being otherwise qualified.
As with invidious racial discrimination, such treatment took a feature (in this case, sex) into consideration precisely to treat women as less than men. The law rightly deemed such actions invidious sex-based discrimination, and—again, given the entrenched, widespread, and state-facilitated nature of the problem—Title IX of the Education Amendments was enacted to ensure that girls and women received equal educational opportunities.
Appropriate and Rightly Lawful Distinctions That Are Not Classified as Discrimination
When Title IX was enacted in 1972 and its implementing regulations were promulgated in 1975, the law made clear that sex-specific housing, bathrooms, and locker rooms were not unlawful discrimination. Such policies take sex into consideration, but they do not treat women as inferior to men or men as inferior to women. They treat both sexes equally because they take sex into consideration (they “discriminate”—in the nonpejorative sense of “distinguish”—on the basis of sex) precisely in a way that matters: by appreciating the bodily sexual difference of men and women in things such as housing, bathroom, and locker room policy.
Would we really be treating men and women equally in anything but an artificial way if we forced men and women, boys and girls, to undress in front of each other?
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her majority opinion for the Supreme Court forcing the Virginia Military Institute to become co-ed, wrote that it “would undoubtedly require alterations necessary to afford members of each sex privacy from the other sex in living arrangements.” Yet we certainly would be treating people unequally if access to intimate facilities were based on factors wholly unrelated to privacy, such as race.
As a result, policymakers did not consider sex-specific intimate facilities as discriminatory in the first place, and laws explicitly reflected that commonsense understanding while rightly declaring racially segregated facilities to be unlawful.
The lesson here is that not all distinctions in fact should be deemed unlawful discrimination.
Not Discriminatory at All
If sex-specific intimate facilities are an example of lawful, legitimate policies that take sex into consideration, pro-life medical practices are examples of policies that are legitimate and lawful because they do not take sex into consideration at all.
That only women can get pregnant has no bearing whatsoever on the judgment of the conscientious doctor or nurse who refuses to kill the unborn. The insistence of LGBT activists that men actually can become pregnant highlights the point: Pro-life medical personnel refuse to do abortions on pregnant women and “pregnant men” (i.e. women who identify as men).
Thus, we can identify three different types of cases:
Cases of invidious discrimination, in which an irrelevant factor is taken into consideration in order to treat people poorly based on that factor, as with racially segregated water fountains;
Cases of distinctions without unlawful discrimination, in which a factor is taken into consideration precisely because it is relevant to the underlying policy and people are not treated poorly, as with sex-specific intimate facilities;
and Cases with neither distinctions nor discrimination, in which a particular factor simply does not enter into consideration, as with pro-life doctors.
Any proposed policy intended to address the documented needs of people who identify as LGBT must take these categories into account without conflation.
SOGI Discrimination: Real and Imagined
Consider a florist who refused to serve all customers who identify as LGBT simply because they identified as LGBT. That would be a case of invidious discrimination because the mere knowledge that they identify as LGBT should have no impact whatsoever on the act of the florist selling flowers, because there is no rational connection between the two.
Now consider Baronelle Stutzman, the 71-year-old grandmother who served one particular gay customer for nearly a decade but declined to do the wedding flowers for his same-sex wedding ceremony.
The customer’s sexual orientation did not play any role in Stutzman’s decision. Her belief that marriage is a union of sexually complementary spouses does not spring from any convictions about people who identify as LGBT. When she says she can do wedding flowers only for true weddings, she makes no distinctions based on sexual orientation at all.
This is seen most clearly in the case of Catholic Charities adoption agencies. They decline to place the children entrusted to their care with same-sex couples not because of their sexual orientation, but because of the conviction that children deserve both a mother and a father.
That belief—that men and women are not interchangeable, mothers and fathers are not replaceable, the two best dads in the world cannot make up for a missing mom, and the two best moms in the world cannot make up for a missing dad—has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation.
Catholic Charities does not say that people who identify as LGBT cannot love or care for children; it does not take sexual orientation into consideration at all. Its preference for placing children with mothers and fathers is not an instance of discrimination based on sexual orientation—and the law should not say otherwise.
Purported gender identity discrimination presents similar problems. The Washington Post recently reported on a woman who was suing a Catholic hospital for declining to perform a sex reassignment procedure on her that entailed removing her healthy uterus. In that report, the Post captures the conflation of real and imaginary discrimination.
“What the rule says is if you provide a particular service to anybody, you can’t refuse to provide it to anyone,” said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign. That means a transgender person who shows up at an emergency room with something as basic as a twisted ankle cannot be denied care, as sometimes happens, Warbelow said. That also means if a doctor provides breast reconstruction surgery or hormone therapy, those services cannot be denied to transgender patients seeking them for gender dysphoria, she said.
The two examples given, however, differ in significant ways. A hospital that refuses to treat the twisted ankles of people who identify as transgender simply because they identify as transgender would be engaging in invidious discrimination, but a hospital that declines to remove the perfectly healthy uterus of a woman who identifies as a man is not engaging in “gender identity” discrimination.
The gender identity of the patient plays no role in the decision-making process: Just as pro-life physicians do not kill unborn babies, regardless of the sex or gender identity of the pregnant person, doctors do not remove healthy uteruses from any patients, regardless of how they identify themselves.
As for the Human Rights Campaign spokesperson’s claim that emergency rooms “sometimes” refuse to treat the twisted ankles of transgender patients, there is no evidence—including on their own website—that it or anything similar in fact happens. Furthermore, insofar as this “sometimes happens,” it seems reasonable to think that the media would focus so much attention on it that the hospital would reverse course within hours. It therefore seems highly unlikely that this alleged problem merits a governmental response.
Need for Policy Shapes the Nature of Policy Response, Definitions, and Protections
My new Heritage report argues that any justified government policy must not penalize valid forms of action and interaction or burden the rights of conscience, religion, and speech. We can see this principle in action.
Because there was such widespread, entrenched systemic and institutional racism throughout American society in the 1960s, for example, and because social and market forces were not sufficient to remedy the problem, it was appropriate for government to respond. That response was properly tailored to meet this need. It defined discrimination to include racially segregated accommodations, places of employment, and housing providers while providing thin religious liberty protections.
Because the justification for antidiscrimination laws based on race was so strong and the need was so great, the law was appropriately broad with limited exemptions.
By contrast, consider laws that address discrimination based on sex. Because the nature of sex and the history of sexism did not represent an exact parallel to racism, the law did not treat them in entirely the same ways. Discrimination was legally defined so as not to include sex-specific intimate facilities, and much broader—and in some cases total—religious liberty exemptions were included. And to this day, sex is not a protected class for federal antidiscrimination law as applied to public accommodations.
In sum, because the justification for laws against sex-based discrimination was weaker than the justification for laws against race-based discrimination, the legal response was more modest: It covered less terrain, defined discrimination more narrowly, and provided greater protection for religious liberty.
Any proposed policies intended to meet the needs of people who identify as LGBT would need to be crafted in a similar manner. Without greater evidence of the justification for specific policy responses—greater documentation of what the needs truly are—it is hard to be specific. In general, however, the need clearly seems weaker than the need for policies designed to deal with discrimination on the basis of race and sex.
A policy response would therefore need to cover less ground, target discrimination more narrowly, define discrimination accurately, and avoid undermining the rights of conscience, religion, and speech. Alas, laws proposed by liberals today do not do this.
Donald Trump's speech to the joint session of Congress spoke highly of Australia's immigration rules
Donald Trump's interest in adopting Australia's so-called "merit-based" immigration system and switching away from low-skilled foreign workers appears to be the culmination of 12 months of private talks between his advisers and Australian officials.
Mr Trump's senior policy adviser, immigration hardliner Stephen Miller, first met Australian diplomats last March at the Washington residence of Ambassador Joe Hockey.
At the time Mr Trump was leading the Republican primary elections and championing a tough stance against Muslims and illegal Mexican immigrants he labelled "rapists" and "murderers".
The ultra-conservative Mr Miller showed interest in better understanding Australia's immigration system - which prioritises higher-skilled workers in demand from business and blocks people who arrive illegally by boat - according to people familiar with the discussions.
Australian officials briefed Mr Miller on Canberra's targeted immigration rules and points system.
Visas are granted predominantly to skilled workers on their likely contribution to society based on factors such as age, education and work experience.
In contrast, the US residency rules are heavily skewed towards family reunions.
A series of exchanges over policy, including immigration, between Australian officials in Washington and Canberra and the Trump team continued over the past year, sources said.
On Tuesday night in Washington in his first speech to a joint sitting of Congress, President Trump hailed Australia's immigration rules and signalled he wanted to adopt a similar approach.
"The current, outdated [US] system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers," Mr Trump said.
"Nations around the world - like Canada, Australia and many others - have a merit-based immigration system.
"It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially."
Mr Miller was reportedly a major contributor to Mr Trump's speech.
The President's statement was ironic given that weeks earlier he lashed out on social media at a "dumb" deal he inherited from predecessor Barack Obama to accept 1250 refugees from Australian offshore processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
During a late January phone call, Mr Trump told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull "this is the worst deal ever", complained that he was "going to get killed" politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the "next Boston bomber", The Washington Post originally reported.
In another twist, Mr Miller is understood to have been one of Mr Trump's advisers most sceptical of honouring the Obama-Turnbull refugee deal.
The referencing of Australia by Mr Trump this week in Congress may be interpreted as a nod to Mr Turnbull; that while the administration loathes the refugee deal, the President respects Australia's targeted immigration laws.
Mr Hockey last month visited the White House to smooth over relations with chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon after the fiery phone call. Ambassador Hockey was on the floor of the Congress for the speech yesterday.
In the US, about 70 per cent of the approximate 1 million people granted permanent residency each year are approved on family-based migration.
About 15 per cent are employment-oriented and 15 per cent humanitarian, according to the US Department of Homeland Security.
Australia accepted 262,170 permanent immigrants last year, including many already living in Australia on temporary visas, according to government data. About 57 per cent were skilled, 34 per cent came through the family migration scheme and 9 per cent were part of Australia's humanitarian stream.
Under strict rules, asylum-seekers who attempt to illegally enter Australia by boat are dispatched to foreign detention centres.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton last October proposed a lifetime ban on adults who attempt to come to Australia illegally by boat.
In the United Kingdom, Australia's points-based immigration system was last year championed by Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson to "take back control of a system that is, at the moment, completely out of control" and to "neutralise the extremists".
A review of past presidential speeches shows that the last time Australia was mentioned in a president's inaugural address to a joint sitting of Congress was in 2001 when George W. Bush thanked Australia "mourning" the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks that killed about 3000 people.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.