Ten Questions for People that Oppose the Travel Ban
by N. M. GUARIGLIA
March 9, 2017
President Trump's reintroduction of the so-called "travel ban" - a watered-down version of an already milquetoast version of a well-known campaign pledge - has nevertheless provoked the only thing worse than widespread hysteria: widespread hysteria pretending to be surprised.
Par for the course, the neosectarian regressive Left has successfully employed its twin holy grails - the race card and identity-politics - with an emotional appeal to, and romanticization of, the proverbial "immigrant experience."
America is importing tens of thousands of people from the deadliest half-dozen conflicts in the Middle East. To think that a three-month pause is rational - maybe even obvious - has quickly been framed as bigoted and inhumane. Rather than explain the historically baseless nature of these crocodile tears, I cannot help but think that finding common ground, preferably by way of common sense, would be a more worthwhile pursuit.
Therefore, before attacking the moral integrity and character of others like a social justice David Miscavige, perhaps more level-headed criticism of Trump's ban should begin by providing logically-deduced answers to the following questions.
Question 1. Is it really accurate or intellectually honest to call it a "Muslim ban" when Christians, Jews, and atheists from the six banned countries cannot get in, but approximately 90% of the world's Muslims still can get it? What is the purpose of continuing to call it a "Muslim ban" in light of this fact?
Question 2. Do you believe in the concept of national sovereignty? That is to say: do you believe every country has the sovereign right - both legal and moral - to not only govern itself, but to determine who can and cannot pass or enter its borders? This has been a well-established principle of international law since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Do you have an alternative philosophy or principle to offer?
Question 3. If you accept that America is sovereign, and therefore has the right to determine who enters, then who or what should be the regulating authority? Historically, constitutional authorities pertaining to immigration have been vested in the Executive Branch, specifically the Office of President. For at least the next four years, that means Trump.
Question 4. How should America go about determining who to let in? Should socioeconomics be a consideration? What about national security concerns? How should one be prioritized over the other? Should there continue to be "caps" on the total number of immigrants we allow in, as was the case under the previous administration? Historically, America's immigration policy has been a highly regulated - and yes, sometimes even racially-focused - government affair. This was true even in the Ellis Island heydays of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Our cultural elite should put down their violins and stop pretending otherwise.
Question 5. Should America require anything of migrants who wish to enter? Should the ideological predispositions of migrants ever play a role in determining whether to allow or deny entry? Should we be more, less, or equally cautious of migrants coming from countries that we are currently dropping bombs on? I ask because President Obama - Nobel Peace Prize laureate just nine months into his first-term - dropped 12,737 bombs on Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia last year alone. That is four of the six travel ban countries right there! All six countries were also on Obama's 2016 "Terrorist Travel Prevention Act," some toothless document that nobody read or heard about, essentially proposing that America should consider doing what Trump just did.
Question 6. In your view, what is more preferable: a temporary ban on everyone from specific terror-prone countries - so as to avoid religious discrimination against Muslims - or a temporary ban on just military-age Muslim men from specific terror-prone countries?
If you believe the former, that temporarily banning everyone from certain countries is preferable, then how many innocent women, children, and non-Muslim or elderly men are you willing to turn away and let die at the hands of ISIS just so America can remain nondiscriminatory? If you believe the latter, that banning just military-age Muslim men from certain countries is preferable, then you support an objectively more discriminatory policy than Trump. Suppose my side conceded that it was unethical to ban just military-age Muslim men. Would not a ban on all military-age men, regardless of religion, still nevertheless constitute some form of discrimination?
As a society, we must acknowledge this fact: our choices are either generalization (banning everyone) or discrimination (banning only a certain demographic). The more humanitarian policy - the one that will quantifiably save more innocent Arab lives - seems to be the more discriminatory policy. This is an uncomfortable thought for many of us. But it is not a point against an argument if its conclusions are not designed to make us feel good.
Perhaps critics of the ban should think about this dilemma and report back with a solution in, oh, I don't know... 90 days?
Question 7. Indulge me on this one. The U.S. population is about 1% Muslim; the vast majority of which are assimilated and compatible with the American way of life. Theoretically speaking, however, what percentage of the U.S. population being Muslim migrants (or first-generation Islamic) would you be uncomfortable with? Do not mistake me; I understand such a drastic demographic shift is not in the realm of possibility. I am merely attempting to arrive at the principle in question.
For instance, if 50% of Americans were Muslim migrants, would that be more or less preferable than our current demographics? Or is this number irrelevant? Clearly at some point, this number becomes relevant, does it not? If 90% of Americans were Islamic, would that not mean certain oppression for the remaining 10% - for every woman, homosexual, Christian, Jew, atheist, writer, artist, and loud-mouth blasphemer you know?
If you accept this premise, does it not therefore stand to reason that 2% of America being Islamic would be more preferable than 5% being Islamic - and 5% more preferable than 10%?
Consequently, if you accept this premise as well, does it not also stand to reason that you, in effect, agree with Trump at least in principle? In fact, such a position is actually more hardline than Trump's position. If you concede that more Islam in a society eventually translates into more oppression for non-Muslims, and less freedom and liberty, then guess what? You actually do support a "Muslim ban"... just not yet! The only other conclusion that can be derived is that you are indifferent as to whether or not America becomes like Somalia or Syria.
Question 8. If you reject the above premise entirely and instead believe that these demographic percentages do not matter; if you believe all peoples and cultures are alike; if you believe the American melting pot will always successfully assimilate all newcomers, regardless of their ideology or previous culture... that is a beautiful sentiment and a testimony to your confidence in present-day America. Consider me more skeptical.
But let's suppose I'm wrong and you're right: how do you then subsequently ensure that democratic assimilation triumphs over the contemporary preference for Balkanized multiculturalism? How do we ensure that Muslim migrants with potentially hostile views of American culture quickly come to accept American culture? Merely welcoming them into our society with open arms - while providing them freedom and opportunity, housing, education, employment, and benefits - will not suffice, for that fits the exact profile of scores of Islamic terrorists since 9/11.
And who is responsible for coming up with our assimilation standards anyway? Who enforces them? Is it fair to say that a plurality of Baby Boomers and Millennials - to say nothing of the freak-show generation following the Millennials - are largely ignorant of American civics and history, and have little to no interest in advancing an "America is great" narrative?
Is it fair to say that the morally relativistic, ethically subjective, and borderline self-loathing American population of 2017 would have a more difficult time administering the assimilation of very-different-from-us Muslim migrants than, say, our proud and patriotic grandparents had in assimilating their very-similar-to-them European cousins?
Is it fair to say that migrants coming from other free and secular constitutional republics are more likely to respect the U.S. Constitution than migrants who admittedly believe in totalitarian sharia law?
Question 9. Speaking of sharia law... what about sharia law? Of the roughly 39,000 Muslim migrants that came into America in 2016 - most of them from Somalia and Syria - how many of them were supportive of sharia? According to Pew polling data, vast majorities of the world's Muslims support sharia law. Even in Albania, one of the most secular Muslim countries on Earth, 12% of Albanian Muslims support sharia. We can therefore surmise that no less than 10% of the 39,000 Muslim migrants of 2016 believe in sharia.
That means we let in about 3,900 people - the size of 8th Marine Regiment and 200 times the size of the 9/11 hijacker team - that openly believe in subjugating women and religious minorities, killing homosexuals and apostates, and everything else that comes with sharia. And that was just last year... and the best case scenario. Because the war-zones of Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia are hellhole hotbeds of jihadist barbarism (as compared to secular Albania), the actual numbers, one can infer, are much worse.
The FBI has about 1,000 ISIS-related investigations ongoing at the moment. Does this fact have anything to do with the more than two million permanent residents America has accepted from Muslim-majority countries since 9/11? Does the apparent rise of Islamic radicalism in Dearborn, Michigan and Saint Paul, Minnesota have anything to do with the large Muslim migrant population in those cities?
If we agree that America must properly vet those that enter our country, what specific questions should we be asking?
Since sharia law is an integral element of the Islamic faith, how do you avoid making these questions a "religious test" for entry? Should we be asking Muslim migrants to disavow the many Koranic verses that instruct Muslims to kill non-Muslims?
How would we detect liars? The Islamic practice of taqiyya encourages Muslims to lie to non-Muslims in order to advance cultural jihad. How do we detect taqiyya and what should be done with the liars?
Many of the migrants are coming from failed states that barely have governments. What should be done with those people without identification papers?
Migrants and refugees are not political props to be used to prove how tolerant you are. These are real questions about how to handle real human beings.
Question 10. In the absence of a specific assimilation plan and adequate vetting procedures, how would you ensure that American cities do not become the "rape capital of the world" like Malmo, Sweden or Cologne, Germany? How would you avoid another Rotherham rape scandal? (Recommendation: Google the Rotherham rape scandal.) I always thought remaining neutral against Hitler was the most pathetic thing about Swedish men. But continuing to jeopardize their wives, mothers, and daughters by embracing foreign savages is a very close second.
In summary, America simply does not have the necessary measures in place to prevent a 9/11-type cell from entering our country and destroying our cities. More than fifteen years after 9/11, this is still transparently evident. Almost all of the terrorist attacks since 9/11 (thwarted and successful) have either come at the hands of recent newcomers or homegrown first-generation radicals, whose parents came here within the last 20-30 years. The San Bernardino mastermind was a Pakistani Muslim that migrated from Saudi Arabia. The Boston Marathon bombers were Muslim migrants from Central Asia. The Orlando nightclub shooter was a first-generation citizen whose parents migrated from that oasis of peace known as Afghanistan. The thug who set off bombs in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey six months ago was also from Afghanistan. The failed Times Square bomber of 2010 - an attack that purportedly would have been worse than the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing had it succeeded - was a migrant from Pakistan.
One can go on for hours. If anything, critics of the ban should be thankful that it does not include more Muslim-majority countries, for there certainly is a case to be made for it.
In Europe, where about three-fourths of the migrants are men, the situation is demonstrably worse. The mastermind of the 2015 Paris attacks - the worst violence in the French capital since World War II - was a migrant that exploited the French refugee program. He boasted of sneaking 90 other jihadists into Europe through the same lax process. The perpetrators of the 2016 attacks in Brussels, Nice, and Berlin were either recent migrants or first-generation offspring of recent migrants.
The wave of jihad that has engulfed Europe since 2014 is a direct spillover from the wars in the Middle East and North Africa. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, the European impulse to virtue-signal and show the world how much it cares about Muslims has led only to social calamity, political turmoil, and scores of dead Europeans all across the Old Tired Continent. Western magnanimity breeds resentment, not gratitude.
Our three-month hiatus seems a given when placed in this context. It will at least give the Department of Homeland Security some time to flesh out a more long-term proposal. When such a strategy is announced, presumably in the summer, we should come to expect more histrionics. Perhaps by then everyone will act less surprised.
Contributing Editor N.M. Guariglia is an essayist who writes on Islam and Middle Eastern geopolitics.