Honestly, I have a measure of sympathy for what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared with regard to refugees from Syria.
He has informed President Obama that Texas won’t accept any refugees from the nation they are fleeing. Why? One individual who entered France as a “refugee” reportedly was part of the attack force that terrorized Paris this past week, killing 129 people and injuring hundreds more.
Abbott doesn’t want to take any chances by allowing Syrians into this state. He joins the governors of Alabama and Michigan in banning Syrian refugees.
On the other hand, I believe it is fair to ask: Is this what the United States of America stands for?
An Austin immigration lawyer told the Texas Tribune that Abbott’s order is legal, but questions whether it is right.
“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being resettled in Texas,” Abbott wrote to President Obama.
I get that. But aren’t there intense security measures a state such as Texas can take screen all applicants coming here from Syria to ensure that they do not have any ties to the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah … or any sinister terrorist organization?
Here’s more from the Tribune: “House Speaker Joe Straus on Monday took a more nuanced position, saying he agreed with Abbott’s ‘concern’ and that refugees needed “thorough background reviews” in order to be placed in Texas. ‘I share Gov. Abbott’s concern that relocating refugees to Texas without thorough background reviews compromises our security,’ Straus said in an emailed statement. ‘Our highest priority as a state has been and should continue to be the safety of all Texans.’”
Virtually all the refugees coming here are fleeing terror, murder, warfare, mayhem, bloodshed. You name it, they’re seeking to escape that misery. What is to become of them? Do we send them to other states? Do we — as Donald Trump suggests — send them back to the chaos they are fleeing?
We proclaim ourselves to live in the Land of Opportunity. We profess our nation to be a bastion for the dispossessed.
Of course no one wants to create a safe haven for terrorist monsters. What, though, does the world do with those who deserve protection from those who would kill them?