I wrote this the other day, but I think it is worth reposting for this Monday.
It is looking more and more likely that the men who perpetrated the attacks on Paris, at least some of them, came into the country as Syrian refugees. In fact, as more and more news reports are finally willing to admit, many of the refugees have been young, single men, not families and not women and children.
I am not expressly opposed to allowing Syrian refugee families in to this country. There are Christians being slaughtered and as a Christian, I want to help them. I have been open about acknowledging both my willingness to admit refugees into this country and acknowledging that I am in the minority among my friends. While I do not favor and have never favored an open invitation and an all call, I have not been opposed to admitting anyone at all.
But I also do not wish to be played a fool and I do want want the American instinct to help to become an invitation for visiting a Paris style attack on our nation. The United States government, like the government of France, has shown itself too willing to use no discretion in admittance to our nation.
If we cannot exercise discernment and discretion in letting in refugees from Syria, we should let none of them in. It really is that simple.
I have seen people writing that we should not let the events of yesterday be used as an excuse to bolster our positions previously held. In other words, we should not use the Paris crisis to just speak more loudly about previously held positions.
Modest suggestion: Can we try to resist using the horror in #Paris to justify whatever we believed about politics the day before yesterday?
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) November 14, 2015
My position has been simple. The United States should do something to help the Syrian refugees. I am not preternaturally opposed to admitting them into this country.
But let me not now use Paris to justify what I believed about politics the day before Paris. We now know, based on multinational confirmation, that some or all of the attackers used the cover of Syrian refugee status to enter Paris and perpetrate this attack.
Therefore, I think given that events can change things, those of us who have supported admitting Syrian refugees should admit that this cannot be a blanket invitation. The government must exercise serious discretion and discernment and give preference to women and children over single men or should not admit any of them at all. While I have always believed that the government should exercise discernment, I not only am not confident that it can or would, but I also think the degree of discernment and discretion must be elevated.
A government that cannot keep its own borders secure and will not exercise discretion over Syrian refugees in light of the attacks on Paris is a government that should not stand because if that government continues to stand, the nation itself will falter.
A citizen who cannot look at Paris and realize an open invitation for Syrian refugees is a terrible idea or has faith that our government can quickly discern who should or should not come probably should be ignored.