The Obama Administration's Pathetic Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

It has let hawkish security considerations defeat the purpose of America's asylum program


The heartbreaking pictures this week of a three-year-old Syrian boy's lifeless body, dressed neatly in shorts, shirt

Syrian Refugee Camp
EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

and sneakers, lying on a Turkish beach, after his boat capsized trying to escape to Europe, spurred the Western world into action. Germany announced it is preparing to absorb 800,000 Syrian refugees, about 1 percent of its population, without establishing any upper limit. France has pledged to take in 24,000. Canada will accept 11,000. Even Britain and Australia, both in the grips of a nativist spasm, have each been shamed into taking 20,000 and 15,000 respectively.

But how many will America take in?

As per the Obama administration's announcement last night: 10,000. That's it. This is far, far lower than the 65,000 that human rights agencies had been urging even before the tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea became headline news. And a pittance on a per capita basis compared to these other countries. (Four million Syrian refugees have been crammed like cattle in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria's other neighbors for years, waiting to be resettled in vain. But now they are making the treacherous journey to Europe in search of a better life.)

So why is the administration being so tight fisted? Essentially because it is caving in to fears that jihadis might use the asylum system to sneak into the U.S.

How credible are these fears?

Read my morning column at The Week to find out.

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  1. Any reason India can’t take ’em, Shikha?

    1. None, other than they have nothing the refugees want.

      1. Why not? India and China are great places to go if you want to work for an American company.

      2. The Indians have India. I believe the muslims have wanted that for a while.

        1. They had it for quite a while. Now they want Europe and the U.S.

          1. Better go dig up Charles Martel.

    2. Cause Donald Trump

    3. They probably have more concerns about letting in potential sympathizers of Pakistan. Then there are how Hindus are treated by Muslims in Pakistan. So that makes the Hindus racist I guess.

      1. They probably have more concerns about letting in potential sympathizers of Pakistan.

        I should think so. But, when anyone in the Eurosphere expresses similar concerns, then it’s bad, then it’s worrying over nothing. Immipimps like Shikha don’t make good cases when they talk about how taking on refugees is great for other countries but never recommend their own. Hey, if India’s doing great then it wouldn’t be a problem, if they’re not, then the immigrant economic boom sure to follow would be great, right? Looks like a win-win but somehow Shikha’s not mentioning it.

        1. For the european leaders any violence that may occur that they can even remotely tie to terrorism can be used to further justify the police state.

          1. And it helps to have a foreign entity for Euros to loathe to distract them from loathing the police state.

            1. Yep, the easiest way to to get people to follow is to give them a common enemy.

    4. Any reason Saudi Arabia can’t take ’em? They have a tent city for 3 million standing empty in Mina.

  2. I was wondering when this article would arrive.

  3. Obama should go to prison for involuntary manslaughter since he basically drowned that boy. I see no difference between Obama and Adam Lanza.

    1. You know who else saw no difference between _________ and Adam Lanza?

  4. Indeed, spurning Syrians won’t keep terrorists out as much as it will the next Steve Jobs or Jerry Seinfeld

    What about the next Paula Abdul?


    1. Straight Up

      1. Well, we are caught in a Hit and Run.

        1. Opposites Attract, yo

  5. Refugees from totalitarian states might see the warning signs and warn Americans of where this country is headed if we don’t do something. Can’t allow that.

    1. More than likely they will ignore any lessons from where they came and vote for similar policies. See: Californians.

  6. I think Shikha should just adopt them all.

  7. I don’t understand what sending food and allowing more refugees in has to do with a boy drowning. If the picture moved people, shouldn’t it be moving them to send bigger, sturdier boats? Or keep the refugees in Turkey. Won’t asylum result in MORE people trying to make the dangerous journey? Not that I disapprove of asylum for Syrian refugees, I don’t. But the drowning was an accident that happened trying to flee, not an example of something they were fleeing from.

    1. Because FEELZ!!!

      Christ, even though I’m sympathetic to Dalmia’s arguments, she just makes these blind assertions.

    2. Won’t asylum result in MORE people trying to make the dangerous journey?

      The Aussies were kind enough to run this experiment for us.

      Shockingly, when they gave asylum to boat people, lots of people tried to get there and hundreds or thousands (nobody really knows) drowned.

      When they started turning back the boats, people quit trying, and (many) fewer drowned.

  8. In related news, Saudi Arabia is not taking in any refugees either, but they have offered to build 200 mosques in Germany.

    1. Aw, isn’t that sweet.

    2. Just think of all the construction jobs!

  9. So western Europe has decided suicide is the answer and we are meanies for not joining in?

    1. The idea that a population of over a hundred million people is “committing suicide” by letting in a few tens of thousands of people doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

      1. letting in a few tens of thousands of people

        You’re off by one, likely two, orders of magnitude.

      2. Germany is talking 500k + annually and is goin gto hit 800k this year. Given that and the relative birthrates of Germans versus the folks they are importing to replace their low birthrate, yes it is suicide.

        1. Caliphate, or cattle cars.

          This will not end well. Given what an almighty, centuries-long fuckup MENA is, it was never going to end well for a lot of people, of course.

          I just have a bad feeling that Germany is essentially getting a blood transfusion from somebody with a communicable disease.

      3. They are letting in the equivalent of one destitute middle eastern city every year, at least. Europe has no moral obligation to be colonized.

  10. It’s time to tear down the Statue of Liberty.

  11. Yeah, pardon me, but….no. I’m tired of what “we owe”, and what “we” should do, and what the government should do. Fuck it – the US has taken in plenty of refugees over the last 100+ years – We don’t owe anything special to the people coming from Syria. It’s a long boat ride – maybe just stop in Europe.

    You want, ’em, Shikha, you house and pay for them. I don’t want them, I don’t owe them anything. I make lots of charitable contributions – I’m sure some of it may find its way to people like this. I’m sure my church will send blankets or something, courtesy of our tithe and offerings. I’m done beyond that.

    1. Maybe we don’t “owe anything special to them”, but it seems like we should at least do the decent thing and accept refugees who have fled for fear of their lives. Or we could repeat history and see how that works out for everybody. I don’t get your ranting about “you pay for them” – nobody’s asked you to pay for them. As you point out, the US has taken in a lot of refugees over the past 100 years, but it’s not like we’re full up or something.

      1. accept refugees who have fled for fear of their lives.

        Fled where? Turkey? Hungary? Germany? Were they in fear of their lives there?

      2. I don’t get your ranting about “you pay for them” – nobody’s asked you to pay for them.

        You’re right. Nobody’s asking, exactly.

      3. “fled for fear of their lives”

        That’s why they’re climbing on trains to get to Britain, away from the nightmarish hellscape that is… France? Bullshit. They’re welfare shopping, plain and simple.

        How many 150-floor buildings in Dubai would it take to house them? Get building, “religion of peace.”

      4. “ranting”?

        I said was I don’t want to pay for them – cause – inevitably, someone has to. Dalmia makes the argument – then she can pay for them. I don’t want these people in my state or city. I have no evidence they “fled in fear of their lives”. And I don’t want to encourage any more people to come here due to ME problems.

        And, yeah, this is almost EXACTLY like the SS St. Louis. Almost. Exactly. Nice “ranting”, JD.

  12. I have an idea, let’s take in another 10,000. They can stay at Shikha’s place.

  13. The idea that we have an obligation to accept refugees implies a right to put a stop to the conditions that create the refugees.

    1. Well, that’s the thing. We’re already fighting the Saudis’ battles for them.

  14. Need moar welfare state!

  15. This entire “take them in” goes beyond simple free movement libertarianism. Let’s face it, the refugees aren’t going to be showing up at the airports unless we import them.

    1. There is no limit to Shikha’s generosity with your money. If you are not in favor of transporting every poor person on the planet to the US then you are a despiciple racist. There is no limit for real.

      1. They have a RIGHT to immigrate here. Because obviously they have a valid claim on the stolen property of tax payers and private property owners, I mean it’s everyone’s right to travel and live where ever the fuck they want, I’m told.

  16. Uncomfortable truth: the drowned kid wasn’t a refugee. He was born and raised in Turkey.

  17. Why exactly would we want tens of thousands of Syrian refugees? The Christian refugees maybe, but why the rest?

    1. So you would apply a religion test to determine eligibility for immigration? How… novel.

      1. Yep – I’m that bigot who has read history and noticed a particular pattern when lots of Muslims (particularly those from the Middle East and North Africa) congregate in one place.

      2. I would use culture. If there’s no indication that they’re among the heirs of 2500 years of European philosophy, culture and social institutions, then they shouldn’t be allowed in carte blanche. But instead only by invitation of property owners who would be sponsoring them and would thus have some skin in the game to weed out potential dirtbags who really don’t belong in our society.

  18. Refugees and migrants aren’t the same thing. While many of these people are indeed fleeing for their safety and can be legitimately called refugees, a good portion of them are seeking economic betterment, not refuge from violence. Calling them all refugees is either lazy or dishonest.

    1. In Dalmia’s case I lean towards dishonest.

    2. If the first bunch that washed up on Lesbos had been sent back – none of this would be happening.

  19. “trying to escape to Europe, …
    Germany France Canada Britain Australia America …”

    “If you hope for your kids to live well, you want them living under white supremacy ? in a country built by and governed by whites, preferably by northwest Europeans, most preferably by the British.

    Everyone’s dream worldwide is to live in a country built by and governed by northwest-European whites. You can curl your lip all you like when you say “white supremacy,” but the truth is, white supremacy’s awfully popular with the wretched of the earth.

    What’s that old phrase, “the somebody-or-other’s burden”?

    1. Anyone who believes in white supremacy never grew up around white people. Either that or they’re the people I’m thinking of as examples of why the idea of white supremacy is a joke. I’ve always found it ironic that the people who preach white supremacy are the people most white people think of as ignorant white trash.

      1. I do believe in the superiority of what we used to call “Western” Civilization. Nowhere else was life and freedom so valued. Nowhere else was there ever that kind of prosperity.

      2. I agree with you, but I suspect that the original argument used a really stupid turn of phrasing to make what shouldn’t be a controversial point.

        Not all cultures are equal. Some are just plain better than others. And it is fair to say that the cultures that developed out of NW Europe are probably the most conducive to human happiness. They developed non-predatory government, capitalism, classical liberalism, and modern science (the three are interrelated).

        Now, saying that it’s genetic or because they are white is just plain ignorant. Go back a few hundred years and you find these cultures really weren’t all that much better than most and probably worse than some.

        But if you want a halfway decent society, you’re either looking at one derived out of NW Europe or one that emulates it.

        1. Classical Liberalism is a very recent phenomenon and plenty of subjugation, slavery, and inhumanity has taken place within Western Civilaztion since it’s introduction. There were many great thinkers out of the west such as Locke and Bastiat and many more who have come up with these revolutionary ideals and we can thank the founding fathers for implementing some of them. But if you look around there are plenty of ignorant White people within the West who espouse the exact opposite ideals and many people in power that listen to them. Just because Einstein was white doesn’t mean every white person gets to hang on his coattails. Because there are plenty of them who are complete idiots.

          1. Well, yes, but don’t conflate genetics and culture. The two are distinct.

            As I said earlier, really, any genetic argument falls flat on the fact that you only need to go back a couple of hundred years to find NW European culture lagging a good many others.

            And yes, the history of the these cultures had no shortage of subjugation, slavery, and inhumanity. But, that was pretty much the norm across cultures. It was the NW European cultures that, for whatever reason, said “Hey, you know, let’s try doing things a different way.”. And that produced a veritable explosion in human potential. And, largely, you don’t see that explosion in any culture that doesn’t at least emulate NW European cultures.

            1. I agree. There is no question as to where I would rather live.

            2. go back a couple of hundred years to find NW European culture lagging a good many others

              Interesting. I’m genuinely curious – at what points in time and against what contemporaneous cultures do you say the Euros were lagging, and on what basis?

              Without knowing a whole lot about it, I can see an argument that the Euros were lagging China and maybe India during the Middle Ages. Frankly, I’d take some convincing that the Euros ever lagged the Muslims, even during the Muslim “Golden Age”; my take is that they were basically tied for awhile.

              1. The couple was admittedly misplaced. I was talking about the Middle Ages.

                China they were definitely lagging in terms of technology and economics. The Muslims had them beat in terms of scholarship and religious tolerance.

                Pretty much, if you were anything other than a noble in medieval Europe, things sucked.

                1. China they were definitely lagging in terms of technology and economics. The Muslims had them beat in terms of scholarship and religious tolerance.

                  China has been mired in bureaucracy for centuries, don’t mistake political centralization for cultural superiority. It is precisely Europe’s decentralized political culture that made in unique in history. It developed out of the supposedly awful Middle Ages and propelled them ahead of the rest of the world on basically every metric.

                  And the Islamic world, insofar as they were religiously tolerant and scholastic was in spite of Islamic culture, not because of it. The Islamic Golden Age was a period of relative weakness of the Islamic religious authorities and much of their scholastic accomplishments were simply that they had the wherewithal to preserve western scholarship, written and living, which was fleeing the fundy Christianity that was sweeping through the land early on.

                  Pretty much, if you were anything other than a noble in medieval Europe, things sucked.

                  And yet quality of life in the Middle Ages was higher than in any age preceding it.

                  1. I think you’re missing my point. Whether the decentralized political culture allowed for the emergence of future cultural superiority or not (a very plausible hypothesis), at the time it wasn’t exactly manifesting itself particularly well. Also, in referencing Islamic civilization, I’m not talking about the religion, per se. I’m discussing the culture that grew out of the areas where the common denominator was Islam. As such the weakness of the Islamic religious authorities at that time was as much a feature of the culture as the decentralization of European culture.

                    Also, do you have cite on the quality of life claim?

                2. The Muslims had them beat in terms of scholarship and religious tolerance.

                  Scholarship? I’ve heard this, no reason to doubt it.

                  Religious tolerance? I’d need some help on that one, since its my understanding that non-Muslims have always been second-class citizens, at best, and have been in a pretty constant state of internal strife between Sunnis and Shias. Totally open to the idea that the Euros were worse at the time, what with their own internal strife between Protestants and Catholics, etc.

                  1. Well, consider the treatment of Jews. Sure, the Muslims treated them as second class citizens. But, the Inquisition, the progroms, etc.

                    Sure the Muslims of the time sucked. But, the Europeans were truly appalling.

              2. As I said earlier, really, any genetic argument falls flat on the fact that you only need to go back a couple of hundred years to find NW European culture lagging a good many others.

                The jury is still out on genetics. There’s a solid case to be made that genetics play a role in how people think and view their world. People of European descent test higher in abstract thinking (think philosophy or law) and are over represented in those fields, where Asians tend to test higher than most in analytical thinking (math and engineering), and all of this while controlling for culture. It’s not too much of a leap to say that the documented cognitive differences between ethnic groups would indicate that those cognitive differences played at least some role in shaping the societies comprised of these individuals.

      3. “I’ve always found it ironic that the people who preach white supremacy are the people most white people think of as ignorant white trash.”

        I’ve noticed a similar pattern among guys who are (genuinely) sexist, they tend to be mediocre minds with mediocre accomplishments. Maybe it’s insecurity.

        1. It’s the fact that everyone who gets shit on wants to shit on somebody else.

    2. Everybody worldwide wanted to live in South Africa during Apartheid? I don’t think you know what “white supremacy” means.

  20. Seems to me that if there are 4 million refugees, then at least 400,000 of them are capable of bearing arms against the assholes in Syria that are causing the crisis. Where’s the Syrian George Washington, Nathaniel Greene, and Daniel Morgan? Doesn’t providing safe harbors enable the tyrants to keep oppressing people?

    1. There is ISIS.

      1. An army of 400k could beat ISIS and Assad if that’s what they actually cared to do.

        1. And then what? Sunshine and lollipops take their places?

          1. And that is why you are better off just letting them work it out themselves. Meet the boss, same as the old boss.

          2. If the Syrians sort out their own problems, its really none of our business, is it?

            1. It’s not the life purpose of American mothers to provide sons to be the world’s cannon fodder.

  21. Why are 72% of these so-called “refugees” adult males?

  22. “The heartbreaking pictures this week of a three-year-old Syrian boy’s lifeless body, dressed neatly in shorts, shirt and sneakers, lying on a Turkish beach, after his boat capsized trying to escape to Europe, spurred the Western world into action.”

    My understanding is that the child had been with his family in Turkey for three years. It is my understanding that the family was traveling to Canada, and that the visa in question had been rejected by the Canadians–not the Obama Administration.

    As much as I’d like to blame Obama for everything, why bring up this child’s tragedy in reference to an article about Obama’s policy?

    Regardless, a photograph isn’t a good reason to do or not do anything. Whatever was in the best interests of the United States would still be in the best interests of the United States regardless of whether that child had drowned and regardless of whether that photograph had never been taken. And surely the question of whether doing something (or not) is in the best interests of the United States should enter into the discussion at some point.

    1. It’s a good reason not to accept “refugees” who show up on a raft since that encourages the millions behind them to try it too.

      1. It’s a good reason not to accept “refugees” who show up on a raft since that encourages the millions behind them to try it too.

        Tell us about it.

        /North American Indians

  23. “Asylum seekers have always been subject to the most rigorous screening of all prospective immigrants (partly because they get instant permanent residency if their applications are approved), making this route a particularly bad bet for terrorists trying to sneak in. Middle Eastern refugees face extra burdens and extra layers of multi-agency scrutiny. For example, until recently, Syrians who had so much as inadvertently served a sandwich to a jihadi were denied admission for violating America’s rule against providing “material support” to a terrorist. It would be far easier for terrorists to enter as tourists ? or via smuggling networks.”

    —-Shikha Dalmia at The Week

    That is hardly convincing.

    Tamerlan Tsarnaev was granted entry to the U.S. as a refugee.

    “Russia warned U.S. about Boston Marathon bomb suspect Tsarnaev: report”…..2Q20140326

    And if that weren’t enough, the FBI held up his application for citizenship because he was a suspect in the Waltham triple murder. #Alleged_involvement_in_Waltham_triple_murder

    1. So, despite the Russian security services informing the FBI that Tamerlan was a suspected terrorist, and despite the FBI suspecting Tamerlan in the Waltham triple murder–they still didn’t do anything to stop the Boston Marathon bombing? Why would that be reassuring?

      Even when they know something credible about a suspect, they do nothing? What about all the people they don’t know anything about–coming in by the thousands from Syria?

      Should we feel confident about them not letting any guns in through the airport because they run everybody through a metal detector–even if we know that when they did find a gun, they just ignored it?

  24. “Then there are the Tsarnaev brothers who perpetrated the Boston blasts. But they didn’t receive asylum, their parents did.”

    —-Shikha Dalmia at The Week

    I don’t know that this is true, but even if it were, that would be a fact opponents of letting in 10,000 Syrian refugees should cite.

    Not you.

    Are they not even screening teenagers?

    1. Just for the record…

      “In the U.S. the parents received asylum and then filed for their four children, who received “derivative asylum status”.” #Family_background

    2. “The Boston bombers came in on asylum visas. Let’s issue 10,000 more to people from a jihadi hot zone!”

      The stupid, it burns.

      The Shikha-level immigration derpsters, it seems to me, are missing a key point:

      Immigration laws are set by governments, as part of their fundamental duty of maintaining territorial integrity.

      Those governments have a duty to their citizens, a lesser duty to their legal residents, a residual due process duty to their illegal residents, and no duty whatsoever to non-residents.

      Immigration policy should not be set for the benefit of non-residents, but for the benefit of residents.

      Once you get that far down the road to common sense, its very hard to see how the residents of the US benefit from importing tens of thousands from jihadi hot zones.

      1. Because more people are always good. Unconditionally.

        1. Well, unless you’re a country that isn’t the US or Western Europe. Then, refusing to encourage mass immigration is perfectly understandable, not even worth noting, really.

      2. At best, I think it’s a case of someone making up their minds before thinking about the facts.

        I’m open to the argument that we should let them in for moral reasons or because letting them in is of benefit to the U.S. in some other way–but being willfully blind to the facts isn’t persuasive.

        Tell us the benefits outweigh the risks. Telling us that there’s nothing to be worried about (despite the facts) is almost as bad as telling us to panic over nothing.

        1. Well rest easy knowing it isn’t nothing. It’s a midsize middle eastern city made up mostly of disgruntled fighting age males fleeing a jihadi warzone, being imported into Germany and Europe every year. That is something at the very least.

  25. Intelligent people would, upon seeing such heartbreaking pictures, wonder why we are fomenting WWIII in that region and creating more refugees by doing so.

    Only a stupid fuck puts John Kerry in as Secretary Of State when the entire populace rejected that goddamned retard in part because he an absolute fucking moron on foreign policy.

    The sad part is America will actually find a person even stupider than Obama to replace him.

  26. Even Britain and Australia, both in the grips of a nativist spasm, have each been shamed into taking 20,000 and 15,000 respectively.

    That about sums up the argumentation of Dalmia “FOR SHAME! SHAME!”

    1. Tell me, how do I distinguish between “nativisim” and an immigration policy that protects the residents of a country?

      1. Dude, if a Syrian refugee camp opens up next to your house, you are instantly better off. Immigration is always good, all of the time, everywhere, for everyone. Immigration does protect you, see now?

  27. “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

    “She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.”

    John Quincy Adams 1821.

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