Montana should take in refugees

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An earlier report stated that Montana will not accept Syrian refugees was incorrect. We apologize for the error.

That’s the correction from an early broadcast that made me ashamed to be a Montanan. Here’s the accurate, updated link from KPAX-TV.  Thank God Montana isn’t buying into knee-jerk paranoia (and dare I say right-wing political gamesmanship).

So at this point, I want to thank Montana Gov. Steve Bullock for not caving into the anti-refugee hysteria sweeping certain parts of the country.  According to the Great Falls Tribune:

Montana does not plan to close its borders to refugees from Syria following last week’s attacks in Paris, Gov. Steve Bullock said Monday.

This is the background:

More than a dozen governors (now up to 25) have said they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states. The Republican governors are concerned that resettlement could open the door to terrorists.

Democrats Bullock and Sen. Jon Tester treaded lightly, saying they’d accept refugees but security was a top priority. Tester echoed Bullock:

… Tester opposed closing the U.S. border, but urged caution. “Any refugees fleeing the senseless violence in the Middle East must be carefully and thoroughly investigated before they are allowed to find safety in the United States,”

Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Ryan Zinke, both Republicans, want to ban Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.:

” … the president’s current plan to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees (nationwide) only serves to open up our homeland to increased security risks, while doing nothing to solve the root cause of the crisis, which is the civil war in Syria,” Daines said.

Zinke urged House lawmakers to consider legislation to block the White House from bringing Syrian refugees to the United States.

Daines and Zinke are jumping on the bandwagon of regressive states with anti-immigrant fervor.  But I’m pleased that some of our elected officials, albeit cautiously, are willing to accept refugees.  Please hold strong.  Montana can certainly afford to take them in.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we\'d certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

12 Comments

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  • Where would you suggest America put the 10,000 refugees, Pete? I think Detroit is the most sensible spot, myself.

    Any other ideas? And what do you think of the costs on all this? Has anyone looked into that?

    What would happen if just one of these refugees could be linked to an attack on American soil? I wonder what would happen if that took place.

    Why do you think everyone has been so quick to jump on this issue, either for or against?

    • A lot of questions there, Greg. First, though, 10,000 refugees is such a paltry number compared to the estimated 4 million displaced Syrian men, women and children. It would be nice if the refugees were dispersed throughout the U.S. but I imagine they’ll settle in major metropolitan areas with established Arab populations (and who can blame them for that). As far as the cost? I have no idea. Maybe one or two F-35 jet fighters? I suppose there’s a chance that a terrorist could slip through the screening process but say what you will about the “Freedom Act” and other intelligence gathering operations, they’ve been effective – as far as we know – in stopping terrorism in the U.S. (if indeed terrorism is an immigrant’s goal). Having the Atlantic Ocean between us and Eurasia is helpful, too. I’d like to think that Syrian refugees would police their own ranks. It certainly would be detrimental to their plight to have terrorists among them. Also, keep in mind that there are already large numbers of Muslim Somalis in the U.S. just trying to get by, and I imagine the same would be true for the Syrians.

      As to your final question of why everyone is jumping on this issue: on one side it’s a humanitarian matter, on the other, it’s opportunism. Republicans don’t see a downside to calling for an immigration ban:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/11/17/you-might-not-like-republicans-calling-for-a-ban-on-refugees-but-its-smart-politics/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-high_fixgopmuslims-10am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

      • I like the jet fighters comments. The global arms industry is worth $235 billion. I’m willing to bet what we spend on refugees pales in comparison to that.

        We know it’ll take 12 days to get 10,000 illegal immigrants, either from south of the border or elsewhere. That number will be here by November 29, I’m sure long before any Syrians arrive. So this is just a ploy by the corporate media to make us look away from something. What is that something, I wonder?

        As for Republicans seeing a downside, do Democrats see an up side? I feel both are just doing what Corporate wants, and by Corporate I mean the 6 large American media companies that are the main suppliers of propaganda for America.

        I’ll have more on this issue today on my site if anyone wants an in-depth look at what we face.

  • Daines and Zinke need to dust off their Bibles, read Matthew 25:41-46 and think about what kind of country and people we want to be. But of course Daines and Zinke are only “good Christians” during elections and will continue to use hate and fear in order to gain power, just like any Fascists would do.

  • One refugee has already gone missing.

    “WBRZ has learned Catholic Charities helped the refugee who settled in Baton Rouge, but said the immigrant left for another state after a couple of days, and they don’t know where the refugee went since they don’t track them.”

    Our Gov needs to hold out as long as Jerry Brown. If one of these guys kills someone Bullock is toast, politically.

    By the way the count is now up to 29 states.

  • From WBRZ web article:

    Update Nov. 17 – Louisiana State Police told News 2 on Tuesday the refugee who briefly stayed in Baton Rouge left for Washington D. C.

    I notice rightwingnut media is all over this because of ONE refugee. Because histrionic stereotyping is Brightphart’s, et al bread and butter.

  • “By the way the count is now up to 29 states,” says Swede. I noticed that all the governors, except one, are Republicans. Well, 2016 is an election year, after all. Let’s sow a little fear.

    Also, Swede, the shooters at Sandy Hook, Umpqua, Virginia Tech, Isla Vista … “acted alone,” too.

    • My mother used to repeat the line that Time Magazine was for people who could not think, and Life Magazine for those who couldn’t read.

      An updated version might be this: Partisan politics is for people who can’t think, and sports for those who cannot read.

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