What’s Long And Hard And Screws People Over? U.S. Refugee Policy! A Wonksplainer

Maybe if Jesus had submitted to multiple background checks...

Running from war and carnage, leaving everything behind, and literally fleeing for your life sounds pretty awful. But America has a long tradition of making life awfuller for refugees seeking some measure of safety and security. Break out your American flag pins and get ready for a quick and dirty wonksplainer on U.S. refugee policy.

NIMBY, Or Anywhere Else

First off, it is fair to say that Americans throughout recent history sure as HELL don’t want dirty refugee asses rolling up on our shores like some sort of tired and poor and huddled masses, no siree. Did we want to help Jews in the 1930s? NO! How about folks fleeing Communism in the 1950s? HELL NO! Cubans in the 1980s? Let 'em drown! Haitians in the 1990s? Hahaha, they can suck it.

Let’s back up to the late 1930s. Jews are being oppressed throughout Germany, with actual slaughter on the way in 1941. You know who else slaughtered Jews? Hitl... oh wait. We're talking about Hitler IN CONTEXT LIKE A BOSS. Most Americans at that time don’t know (or pretend not to know) how bad things are, or that extermination is on the way, but there are signs that things are pretty awful, per Vox:

But Americans did know that Nazis were encouraging vandalism and violence against Jews — many Americans had been alarmed by Kristallnacht in 1938, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had issued a statement condemning it. But America didn't feel strongly enough about the mistreatment of Jews to allow them to find a safe harbor in the US.

We went so far as to refuse a boat full of German Jews the ability to dock in Miami in 1939, sending 900 folks back to Europe. They went to various countries in Europe, which then got invaded by Nazis. More than a quarter of those passengers died in the Holocaust. On the up side: None of them dirtied our shores with their Jewey-ness, so V for VICTORY, amirite?

But We Gotta Protect Americans!

On the other side of the Land of Liberty, Freedom-loving Americans were literally rounding up Japanese-Americans and ‘concentrating’ them into ‘camps,’ an idea that was totally en vogue at the time. 120,000 Japanese-Americans, the majority of whom were citizens, spent FOUR YEARS imprisoned by our government for the crime of looking like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. After the war (roughly 45 years after), we apologized, so no harm, no foul, right?

While we may have nothing to fear but fear itself, we sure as hell allow irrational fear to dictate our refugee policy. Sure, after WWII we were all, "Sorry, Jews, our bad. In return for us being dicks, you can run our media from now on." But our refugee policy continued to be based on fear of someone. Our fear of Jews was replaced by fears of Commies then Messicans and now Muslims. Hooray for reactionary irrational fear based on political pandering!

Racist. Regret. Repeat.

[contextly_sidebar id="BXWPanasoJdfpEPN6NIWCNzil3j2xOt4"]It is in this grand Christian tradition of neglecting the poorest and most desperate people on the planet that we come to the present day, with the plight of Syrian refugees. The politicians opposing these refugees have YOOGE asshole-ish shoes to fill, and they are taking to the case like CHAMPS:

In an inspiring act of defeatocrat cowardice, the House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass its emergency OH GOD NOT ANOTHER ORWELLIAN-NAMED BILL, the SAFE Act, to let ISIS know good job, guys, you’re winning, keep up the good work!

First off, do you know how fucking hard it is to get refugee status in the Land o Liberty? There is an 18-24 month, 21+-step process. Here are just a few of the things that must happen, via Center for American Progress:

  • THREE biographic background checks;
  • THREE biometric checks, with fingerprints checked against ALL THE DATABASES;
  • In-person interviews with the United Nations and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Twice);
  • Multiple interagency security checks;
  • Health screening;
  • Cultural orientation class;
  • Transvaginal probe;
  • Common Core math exam; and
  • Name of firstborn son legally changed to Uncle Sam

Ok, those last three are just for giggles. But for serious, we are talking about a TWO YEAR PROCESS.

Not good enough for elected officials who have the combined IQ of snail piss, like this asshat from Tennessee:

"A top Tennessee Republican lawmaker believes the time has come for the National Guard to round up any Syrian refugees who have recently settled in the state and to stop any additional Syrian refugees from entering Tennessee."

Or the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, who thought WWII internment camps were A GOOD IDEA!?!?!

[contextly_sidebar id="0hfsYayYHsvCPbDXaNeMyoSbylqo4S84"]When addle-brained reactionary conservative assmonkeys want to change American History curriculum to only focus on American Exceptionalism, this is the kind of "America-blaming" they want to gloss over. They want to focus on America fighting WWII in Europe, but not mention that we turned our backs on the Jews and said "Sorry, your citizenship doesn't actually count" to the Japanese-Americans here at home. BECAUSE SWEET FANCY MANZANAR, WE CLEARLY NEED MORE GODDAM HISTORY LESSONS.

Whatever. In 50 years, they will be teaching the Diary of Abir Hussain, the 14-year-old Syrian girl who hid with her family in the basement so ISIS wouldn't kill them. America will say, "Never Again!" and pretend to mean it this time, until irrational fear about who knows what minority takes over and we ignore history. We're getting pretty fucking good at that.

[Huffington Post / Vox / Center for American Progress / Tennessean]


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