Daines and Zinke Turn Into Quivering, Xenophobic Puddles of Fear Over Refugees One More Time

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Another day, another opportunity to score some xenophobic points at the expense of Syrian refugees. Today, the Senate, including Montana’s Jon Tester, voted to block an absurd Republican-backed bill that would require the FBI chief, National Intelligence director, and Secretary of Homeland Security to personally certify that every refugee is not a security threat. One assumes that the bill would require all three to personally rifle through elementary school pictures of each applicant before denying each to appease Republican fear.

No doubt readying himself somewhere for another appearance on Fox News to demonize Syrian children, Representative Zinke used typically restrained language, suggesting that those who oppose his proposal to deny what should be our values are not loyal to the country:

I urge Senate Democrats who are more concerned with Obama’s legacy and election year politics than the safety of our nation to reconsider their allegiance.

Senator Daines took to Facebook to suggest that the most powerful country in the world is so incapable of screening refugees that we need to turn our eyes from the crisis:

Just now, Senate Democrats blocked debate on legislation that would increase security and screening measures for refugees seeking to enter the United States…. We are at war with radical Islamic extremism and it is irresponsible to accept anything less than a 100 percent verification of these refugees’ backgrounds before they enter the United States.

While Zinke and Daines continue to demagogue, the truth is that the United States has an incredibly stringent review process for vetting refugees, one that takes as long as two years and involves extensive background checks and interviews. Despite the fear mongering from Republicans like Zinke and Daines, the refugee screening process is extensive and does a great deal more to keep Americans safe than this xenophobic bill would ever do.

Even worse, Republicans voted today to block consideration of measures to restrict terrorists from purchasing guns and enhanced funding for homeland security.

The timing of this latest Republican effort to demonize Syrian refugees comes one day after the Holocaust Museum in Washington took possession of a flag from the refugee ship Exodus, which was famously turned away from British-controlled Palestine with 4,500 Holocaust survivors on board before having to return to Germany.

It’s perfectly understandable that Representative Zinke and Senator Daines are terrified of Syrian refugees, given the rhetoric of party leaders like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, but it’s a moral shame to let that fear dictate inhumane policy that betrays the values we should aspire to as a nation.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

13 Comments

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    • Boys will be boys.

      In 2003, Sweden’s rape statistics were higher than average at 9.24, but in 2005 they shot up to 36.8 and by 2008 were up to 53.2. Now they are almost certainly even higher as Muslim immigrants continue forming a larger percentage of the population.

      With Muslims represented in as many as 77 percent of the rape cases and a major increase in rape cases paralleling a major increase in Muslim immigration, the wages of Muslim immigration are proving to be a sexual assault epidemic by a misogynistic ideology.

      • Swede, you’ve forgotten a source or link, again (although it looks like you lifted the above comment straight from some site).

      • He did. I think it originated at the virulently anti-Muslim FrontPage Magazine site, but once a fake statistic like this makes is way into the nutosphere, it’s hard to say where it began.

        Of course, this might affect his judgment:
        In Sweden, the definition of rape has been successively widened over the years, leading to an ever larger number of sexual assaults being classified as rape.[3][12][13][31] For example, in 1992 a legislative change came into force which shifted the dividing line between sexual assault and rape. This legislative change resulted in about a 25% increase in the level of registered rape offences.[11]

        https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Rape_in_Sweden

        But I suspect not.

  • Hits just keep on coming.

    “Hospitals in Europe have been warned that newly-arrived migrants may bring with them diseases that have been eradicated in the country for several decades.

    The Danish State Serum Institute (SSI) has warned hospitals to be on the lookout for signs of diphtheria, an illness that has not been seen in Denmark for 20 years, after two Libyan migrants tested position for the disease.

    “The infection can be very dangerous if one isn’t vaccinated against it. The dangerous type is very rare and we last saw it in Denmark in 1998,” spokesman Kurt Fuursted said.

    Danish newspaper Metroxpress also reported that other asylum seekers had also been found to be carrying tuberculosis and malaria, prompting the SSI to comment that Denmark may start introducing mandatory health checks for migrants.”-Nick Hallet.

    • There’s certainly no shortage of xenophobia online. You could keep posting this for days.

      You know how infectious diseases might spread? Locking people up in refugee camps.

      And the same arguments you are making, that migrants are dirty, or diseased, or foreign to our values, are the same arguments xenophobes made about Italians and Irish and Polish people from the 1860s on. I’d say those people have dramatically improved life in America.

      • Grab a history book Don. People with coughs were quarantined or sent back after they landed on Ellis Island.

        • Perhaps you can direct me to some reading material. In the meantime, let’s go with this, from PBS:

          Between 1892 and 1924, the percentage of immigrants rejected for a medical condition, including psychiatric, chronic as well as infectious diseases, was miniscule, less than 1 percent. A small number of these immigrants were treated at the Ellis Island; even more were sent back to their native land at the expense of the steamship company that brought them to the New World.

          Given that medicine has advanced somewhat since 1924, and we’re talking about 10,000 refugees, not the 21 million who passed through Ellis Island, I think American doctors can deal with the imaginary crisis you’ve presented.

          (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/october-15-1965-remembering-ellis-island/)

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