The need is now


To the Editor:

We hear a lot about how we must restrict, or better, cut off, the flow of refugees from the tormented Middle East. Governors outdo one another in voicing suspicion that the people who are fleeing beheadings and bombings in their homeland may want to kill Americans. Not in those governors’ backyards.

I readily admit that among hundreds of thousands of refugees there may be a certain number of criminals, as there are in any large group of humans. In fact, we produce plenty of mass shooters right here in the good old U.S.A. — 325 mass shootings in 2015 so far. We’re much better at that than any crummy foreigner, anyway; we can kill one another quite well ourselves (11,698 this year), thank you.

And there are precedents for exclusion. A Jan. 20, 1939, poll by the American Institute of Public Opinion found, for instance, that 61 percent of the U.S. population was against letting in 10,000 Jewish refugee children from Germany.

In fact, hardly any of the successive waves of immigrants were welcomed with open arms (e.g. “No Irish need apply”), and yet we do not seem to get tired of patting ourselves on the back for having taken them in. Furthermore, it is all too true that it has been the joint effort of all these varied immigrants that has built the America we are so proud of today.

The proposal of a lengthy “vetting of refugees” is not very practical. Their need is now — are they supposed to tread water offshore for three years till the vetting process is completed to the satisfaction of our fearful politicians?

The people who are fleeing from ISIS would probably be the first to try to protect themselves and us from the perverse IS gang.

By the way, 81 percent of accused ISIS-linked suspects in this country are U.S. citizens.

We have a population of 318.9 million and an area of 3,805,927 square miles. So far, a mere 2,174 Syrian refugees have been admitted for resettlement in the United States. Not our finest hour. Tiny Lebanon, with 4,036 square miles, and a population of 4.4 million, is hosting 1.1 million refugees.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has suggested establishing a database on all Muslims in the U.S., and Dr. Ben Carson of “Gifted Hands” fame has likened refugees to rabid dogs. From there it is only a tiny step to making them wear a half-moon on their lapel!

Brigitte Lent