Justin Amash

Justin Amash: 'We cannot prevent every terrorist attack…we have to at some point trust some people.'

The most libertarian member of Congress explains why he opposes Trump's executive order while agreeing with the president that refugee screening needs significant improvement

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He's coming for you. ||| AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is widely considered to be the most consistently libertarian member of Congress. He is also the son of a Syrian immigrant and a Palestinian refugee. So it didn't exactly come as a surprise when Amash became one of the first Republican politicians to criticize President Donald Trump's refugee/immigration executive order of one week ago.

But Amash is also unsatisfied with America's existing process for screening potentially dangerous refugees from Syria and other unstable, terrorist-producing countries. In an interview with me one year ago, the congressman said, "I went to one of these briefings put on by the administration, and was frankly stunned at the poor vetting process. It is a long process, but contrary to what I at first believed, it is not a very rigorous process. The important thing to me at the end of the day is making sure that we can identify who the person is when they're coming over."

I spoke with Amash again for SiriusXM Insight on Wednesday, at a time when it seemed (to me anyway) that the EO's controversial provisions affecting green-card holders who live in the U.S. had been reversed. Since then the State Department has disclosed that 60,000 visas have been revoked as a result of the order, though if this week is any guide, the reporting on that could soon change a great deal. The bottom line, according to the congressman, is that this policy trend won't change until Republican attitudes change, and that doesn't seem immediately likely: "Right now we are going through a period where we are sort of closing up a little bit."

The following is an edited transcript of our conversation; at the bottom of it you can listen to the first three minutes:

Reason: The green card element of it, which was many people's…lead objection to the executive order…that one seems to be resolved. What are your remaining objections to the executive order as they stand today?

Amash: Well, I wouldn't call that one resolved….

Reason: Oh, okay.…

Amash: I've talked to some of my colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus to send the word back up to the administration: They're letting green-card holders in on a case-by-case basis but they are going to receive additional screening and all the rest. And it's my opinion, and certainly the opinion of a lot of people in Congress, including a lot of Republicans, that people who have been living here for a long time, who are lawful permanent residents?these are legal immigrants who live among us, who serve in our armed forces, who pay taxes?they shouldn't be treated like they are some kind of suspect every time they want to come back into the country.

Reason: As far as you know, are they being pulled aside for questioning routinely at airports still, even after the clarification from the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday?

Amash: So I don't have any anecdotal evidence of that, but I can say that based on the statements we have heard from the administration, whether it's DHS or Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus or anyone else, they are going to receive additional scrutiny when they come in. Now, they are going to be let in on a case-by-case basis, but they are going to receive additional scrutiny; in other words, the executive order will still cover them.

I think that's not the way to handle people who have been living here as lawful permanent residents and are well-vetted. We cannot prevent every terrorist attack that is going to happen in the world, and we have to at some point trust some people. And I think the people who live here and serve in our armed forces, we are going to have to trust. That's just how the world has to work, and life has to work.

Reason: And just for people who aren't really aware of how the green card process works, there is vetting—you have to get fingerprinted and you have to go to some interviews.

Amash: Yes absolutely.

Reason: You have to say that you're not allegiant to a foreign totalitarian system of thought.

Amash: That's right, that's right.

There's no perfect way to stop everything, so we do our best to look at the people who we might be most concerned about, but certainly I wouldn't put lawful permanent residents up there at the top of the list, just like I wouldn't put citizens up there. We wouldn't want to subject citizens to additional harassment every time they go someplace—although we do see that with TSA, obviously—but we wouldn't want to do that just for the sake of saying, "Okay, well, some of these citizens might be bad." Sure, some American citizens might also want to do us harm, but that's just not the way you operate in a free country.

Reason: Let's talk about other aspects of the order. What is wrong from your lights of the seven-country, temporary—though we don't know when it's going to stop and we've heard some indications that it might not stop after the 90 days are up—but temporary ban on all non-diplomatic travelers emanating from those seven countries? What is wrong with that?

Amash: Well, you are going to affect a lot of schools, and there are students who come here from other countries who want to learn the American way and go back and actually help improve their countries. But then when you also look at the seven countries, these aren't the seven countries that have provided the greatest threat to the United States over the past couple decades. We're missing big names, like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan. And so I think that the list, which was, yes, drawn up during the Obama administration for totally different purposes—not for the same purposes, for different purposes—is mostly a political list. It is more of a political list than it is a safety list, and if we are worried about the safety of our citizens here then we should be looking at countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where a lot of the radicalism arises.

Reason: Now I interviewed you about a year ago in your office and we talked about this issue, because they had just passed through the latest omnibus these adjustments to the Visa Waiver program that affected dual nationals from those countries. And at the time you said to me that the refugee screening process of people from Syria…really needs to be improved. Can you talk about that briefly?

Amash: Well, the reason I say it needs to be improved is because I've been in classified meetings, and I know that some of our highest level officials, including the FBI Director, do not believe that the screening process is adequate, and they are unwilling to certify that people coming into the United States are screened effectively; are safe, in other words. So as long as you have the heads of these agencies—and this is under the Obama administration—saying that they are unwilling to certify, unwilling to assure us that they've been properly screened, I think there is more work to do. Now what all that work is, I don't know. I don't know all the details of the screening process and how we can improve it. But certainly these officials who are in charge of it should come up with better ways so they can feel confident.

Reason: So what's next for Congress right now having to do with the executive order. What are you cooking up, what are your colleagues cooking up, if anything, to respond [to], alter or adjust this in any way?

Amash: Well, we will look at various things; I think some of my Democratic colleagues have already dropped some legislation, and I'll certainly be reviewing all of that legislation. But at the end of the day I don't think that you are going to get any changes to this executive order until a sizeable number of Republicans, particularly Republicans at home, change their minds about it. And right now it doesn't seem that way. I think most Republicans at home applaud the order for one reason or another.

Of course Trump said that this is something he was going to do, and there is a lot of misinformation out there; everyone is conflating things. People say it is just like what President Obama did, when it is nothing like what President Obama did. Or that President Obama cut off…the Iraqi refugees for six months, when that's nothing like cutting off legal immigrants or student visas, as has been done under this executive order, so it is comparing apples to oranges. Until Republicans really understand what's going on and are concerned about it, it's probably not going to change.

Reason: Donald Trump has said that he wants the new target of the total number of refugees in this country to be reduced from this year's 110,000 to 50,000 going forward. The target for the 15 years prior to this year had been 70 or 80,000, and we are living at a time when the global refugee population has gone from around 10 and a half million to 16 plus in a very short period of time, three or four years. What is your sense of what this says about America's traditional role as being the magnet for and great shock absorber for worldwide refugees?

Amash: Well I think culturally right now we are going through a period where we are sort of closing up a little bit. I mean, you have a lot of nationalism in sort of what brought Trump to power, and as a result you have a country right now that says, "Hey let's close our borders, let's close off trade, let's really just look at our own people and not worry about being that shining beacon to the rest of the world."

No one is calling for making the United States a part of some kind of global government. We don't want the U.N. telling us what to do, we don't want global government. But at the same time we have to be open to a conversation with the world, bringing people here, letting them see how great it is to have a free system, so that we can have a better world, so we can have better relations with other parts of the world. Everyone prospers when there is freedom across the world. We don't want to do it militarily like George W. Bush did and like Obama did, but let's make sure that we are open and willing to speak and converse with other countries.

Those first three minutes:

NEXT: Video of Reason Foundation panel on "Immigration Reform in the Era of Trump"

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  1. I’ve told this to people on both sides —- if someone really wants to murder a bunch of people, there’s really nothing we can do to stop it, aside from turning into a police state. There is absolutely nothing stopping someone from blowing their car into a farmer’s market, etc. The only thing that could possibly help reduce casualties is to arm more people, which is why most mass shootings are in a gun free zone.

    You just have to accept that bad stuff happens and that we live in a free society. You can’t eliminate all evil. Stop clinging to this idea of utopia

    1. A police state isn’t going to work, either. It’s just going to lead to harassment of everyone else. But by the same token, this isn’t the argument you want to present when it comes to immigration – people we willingly allow in who people associate with attacks.

      1. Exactly. The Smyrna, DE correctional institution is an actual police state, yet prisoners took hostages yesterday and murdered one guard. If one is willing to die in the process, even a police state won’t stop a committed killer.

    2. there’s really nothing we can do to stop it, aside from turning into a police state.

      That is the unfortunate end game. A wall around the country and eyes everywhere is the only way to keep us safe!

      1. Why, they’re even preparing us for it in the pop culture!

        George Orwell’s 1984 heading for Broadway

      2. You mean we aren’t there already? Phone and internet records being monitored. Cameras are already everywhere.

        The Germans just arrested 19 people in more terrorist raids. The French are currently carrying out raids in relation to an attempted attack on the Louvre. I’m sure the US government will be violating the Constitution to dive into the guy who threw a bomb in that Cheesecake Factory too.

        Weeeeeeeeeeee!

      3. And even a wall won’t keep us safe.

    3. The old USSR couldn’t stop it either. Even with all their controls and secret police and lack of freedom. If someone has decided to do a thing and puts the thought and effort into it, it’s almost impossible to prevent. You might catch them afterwards, but unless they’ve done something stupid up front or is part of a group of people who like to talk, you can’t stop them.

  2. Justin Amash: Open-Borders America Hater

    1. I’m giggling like an idiot now because for some reason after I wrote that, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if on his website & business card, it had his name & contact info, then towards the bottom, like where some stupid little message would be written in italics, like Serving the Metro Area Since 1981, or Where We Put Customers First, it just said

      Justin Amash 555-5555
      More Libertarian Than John

      1. I had the exact same thought!

      2. More Libertarian Than John

        Not exactly a high bar.

      3. He’s a more consistent conservative than John, too. Also not a high bar.

    2. You know, it’s funny how a lot of people who traditionally Hate America want to open its borders.

      I think this adds to the animosity between ideological camps. Everyone just wants political revenge on their enemies.

      You’ve got people like noam chomsky, who called the GOP the most evil organization on the planet, demanding we bring more immigrants here to save them from the horrors of their own regimes. Let that sink in for a moment.

      I agree with chomsky’s thesis–that by and large, migrants are in danger, not a danger to us. But chomsky is on record in various contexts declaring America the biggest danger to the world.

      So is chomsky honest about migrants, or honest about how awful America is? If it’s the latter, shouldn’t everyone be running for Syria and the Sudan and away from America?

      1. I’m wondering where the hell this guy gets his rep from. His theory of language development is, from the work I read, no longer widely accepted, and outside of that, he seems like a run-of-the-mill academic marxist.

        1. I can’t speak for the former, but you’re spot on the latter.

        2. You should read Manufacturing Consent – it is built on the same fundamental logic failure. He actually builds a solid case that manipulators control the message which means that any left-based govt is just another manipulation; except he won’t admit that. Instead he throws his hands in the air and claims that isn’t manipulation.

          Very undeserved rep.

        3. First mover advantage? I mean, he’s been doing it for decades, so his brand was established when competition wasn’t as fierce.

        4. Oh yeah? How many sign-language chimps do YOU have named after you?

          1. Six.

            What about you?

            1. I think Warty briefly dated Koko.

            2. I’ve only got the one, but he has a conjoined twin.

        5. ‘Manufacturing Consent’ actually has a decent argument in it, but I doubt Chomsky would acknowledge that it applies to Obama or Castro too, not just Reagan. There are also of course better media analysts out there.

          1. It’s a lot like The Paranoid Style in American Politics. It makes some really good arguments, but then decides they only apply to Republicans.

      2. demanding we bring more immigrants here to save them from the horrors of their own regimes. Let that sink in for a moment.

        *** scratches head ***

        So, … if we … bring all the immigrants *here*, … we won’t have to do regime change … over **there?

      3. Is that guy still alive?

        I have to give the man some credit for turning me toward libertarianism and anarchism. Even if he’s wrong about a lot, the notion that all of the conventional wisdom you grow up with might be a lie is a big thing with him. But now that I’m older and (I like to think) a bit more sophisticated, he is pretty ridiculous most of the time.

        1. To me the great scene in that movie is the one where he defends the Nazis against the college students saying something to the effect that “if you only apply free speech to those ideas you agree with, you are against free speech.”

          Man, how that’s been lost on the left.

        2. Chomsky’s anarchism isn’t like a libertarian’s anarchism.

          I’m sure there are those who’ve read far more Chomsky than I have who will accuse me of mis-characterizing his brand, but he generally comes from the Marxist/Socialist-Anarchist, Emm Goldman-ey wing. The idea coming from the pure reading of Marxism which said that in the end, the state would fade away, leaving the factories and means of production in the hands of the people, and they would self-collectivize and form institutions based on mutual aid.

          Chomsky’s entire thesis on why this hasn’t happened is predicated on his theory of ‘manufactured consent’. That if these corporate/capitalist institutions weren’t keeping us distracted in our false consciousness, that this spontaneous organization would happen. Chomsky truly believes (and I don’t think he’s dishonest– I think he really believes this) that sans these distractions of capitalism, we’d essentially agree on these Marxist precepts and off we’d go to self-organize.

          Libertarian anarchy is more grown up. It recognizes that people aren’t going to agree on everything, and that lack of agreement doesn’t matter, and in fact can be empowering, creating a competition of free ideas, allowing the individual to have greater power of choice.

          1. ..contd

            Chomsky’s (and others) view of this socialist self-organizing society based on mutual aid is kind of what we technical people, when putting together the flowchart, call ‘the miracle box’.

            Chomsky’s anarchism doesn’t address how lack of agreement or disparity of vision, or refusal to go along is dealt with. And I don’t think it matters to him because again, he believes that without capitalist distractions, these things won’t be of consequence.

          2. Oh, yes, I am quite aware of that now (and have been for some time). I don’t think I have much of anything in common with Chomsky now.
            But a few things that I read and heard from him sort of got me on the path to where I am now. I am one of the people who came to individualism/libertarianism/anarchism/whatever from a more or less culturally leftist milieu. Which is also why I don’t think it is completely pointless to try to convince leftists to change.

            1. To this day, I credit Democrats (and liberals) of the 70s and 80s with bringing me to libertarianism. It’s too bad they all left.

  3. contrary to what I at first believed, it is not a very rigorous process.

    No kidding. The saintly and “professional” public service apparatus has had years to hone the process, but Trump is the one who’s incompetent and unqualified.

    1. At a certain point, there’s probably not much they could do. You have people coming from third world hellholes – some of them in the midst of civil war or only a step above that.

    2. Critic of Government Incompetence Surprised That Government is Incompetent

      Film at 11.

  4. Amash makes reasonable points, while not shitting his pants. If Reason would have taken this position (ie. the ban should not effect green card holders; screening methods should and can be improved, and we shouldn’t completely close out refugees), I don’t think there would have been any disagreement from the commentariat.

    1. JFC, her twitter feed is retarded. (In response to your handle)

      1. She has not comported herself very well recently.

        1. There is no sugarcoating it….she may not fully support free speech.

          1. To be sure, some of her comments might not have had the most favorable interpretation.

            1. Honest condemnation of #Shikha tweets must also condemn those who believe in free speech.What’s point except baiting n inciting in Shikha’s Hit’n’Run?

        2. I’m really hoping her family members/ loved ones can get her the help she needs. She seems to be having a complete meltdown.

      2. She is the new woke face of Reason

      3. baiting n inciting

        Nice euphamism.

      4. “JFC, her twitter feed retarded”, sounds like a line from Darmok.

        1. Shikha and Darmok at Berkerlee

    2. While what you say is mostly true, there are a few Trump firsters and Domestic Dissident and other crazies like him. But I agree, this is the reasonable argument that doesn’t rely on emotionally charged stories that should have been made and debated initially.

    3. this.

    4. I don’t think there would have been any disagreement from the commentariat.

      Fire Fire Shikha.

      1. See, I didn’t have time to get into it (and I still don’t, really), but why is it you think that Reason’s “position” is different? Can you even say the outlet has declared a position? I see a scattershot of different arguments and factoids, often addressing the weaknesses of the administrations’ arguments. I haven’t seen a checklist describing what the feds should do, particularly in regard to the refugee screening program. Much of the outrage has been toward the hold up of permanent residents, the chaos this is causing for people, and that refugees will be completely closed out for an extended period of time. But everyone projects what they think “Reason’s position” is based upon their individual understanding of past Reason positions, most of those having to do with economic migration from the southern border, combined with the perception that Reason writers are insufficiently outraged about federal spending.

        We can’t do it – nor would I want to subject him to it – but I wonder if you had Amash read through every post here from the last week, how often he would say, “I disagree with that.”

    5. People shouldn’t base let there opinions be dictated by emotional knee jerk reactions.

      If some smug socialist feminist screeches that Trump’s tariffs are misogynist because Mexican tampons are cheaper and better than American ones, one should not give in to the desire to turn protectionist just to spite her.

      Oh, Mexican tampon, someone ought to come up with a good slang definition for that and put it on urban dictionary.

      1. It’s when a drug mule stuffs a condom full of cocaine up her nethers. Duh.

      2. Chica Churro

  5. Amash: Well, the reason I say it needs to be improved is because I’ve been in classified meetings, and I know that some of our highest level officials, including the FBI Director, do not believe that the screening process is adequate, and they are unwilling to certify that people coming into the United States are screened effectively. Are safe, in other words. So as long as you have the heads of these agencies?and this is under the Obama administration?saying that they are unwilling to certify, unwilling to assure us that they’ve been properly screened, I think there is more work to do. Now what all that work is, I don’t know. I don’t know all the details of the screening process and how we can improve it. Certainly these officials who are in charge of it should come up with better ways so they can feel confident.

    I can’t wait for Dalmia’s scream of “FASCIST!!!!”

    1. Make America Feel Confident Again?

      Actually, that sounds like a Summer’s Eve ad.

    2. Is everyone just waiting for a Shikha article, so they get go off?

      1. I won’t be here that long.

        1. Are you dying, like that grandmother that Trump killed?

          1. -5 days.

            I will fade out in today’s PM Lynx.

            1. Swiss, are you going to be lurking long enough to get plugged in with Tonio’s alternative, or are you washing your hands of it all?

              1. There will be alternatives, and I will be there. Someone has to keep the puns in check…

                1. We have tried alternatives before and they always fizzle out. Maybe with Tonio plugging us, we can maintain it.

                  1. Maybe with Tonio plugging us

                    Phrasing!

            2. Swiss! You *too*?! 8-(

              1. Yup. This place welcomed me as a wanderer from TEAM RED, toward the light of freedom. Now….it seems to be changing, rapidly, into something less…concerned with being a thoughtful advocate for “Free Minds and Free Markets”.

                1. Well, you know you will be missed.

                  I hope you’ll keep your gaze narrowed on this place and eventually come back.

                2. concerned with being a thoughtful advocate for “Free Minds and Free Markets”.

                  Woke Minds and Intersectional Solidarity

          2. We’re all waiting for Tonio’s Final Solution and then there’s gonna be a concentration of commenters hopping the first train out of town.

            1. Hail RC Dean! Hail tarran! Hail Banjos! Hail Sloopy and his mom! Hail Switzy! And hail many others I can’t recall at the moment!

              1. You know who else was regaled with Hail! in front of their name?

                1. Retaxes?

              2. I miss JsubD, Fluffy and ClubMedSux.

                CMS is the only commentor I have met in real life.

            2. I’m stayin’. Finishin’ my coffee.

              Enjoying my cup of coffee.

        2. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

          I had to get that last one in.

          1. And I still laugh at that, whenever you and X get me with it, Crusty.

          2. Goddammit, i was gonna say that.

        3. Don’t go Swissy! Stay for the comments.
          *imploring gaze*

    3. This is a mature point of view from Amash – he has a position, but he admits it’s not perfect. I respect that and I wish there was more of that both from politicians and from outlets like Reason.

      I guess I just don’t get the fervor for bringing in Muslim refugees. I get trying to help people. I really get accepting immigrants who pay their own way and come here to improve their lives (I really admire people like that – it’s an incredibly bold thing to do). I just don’t get Why Muslim refugees?

      I’m assuming that we don’t have infinite capacity to help all of the world’s unfortunate. I’m sure there are many good Muslim refugees who are in a real bad situation. But there’s also a lot of problems with Muslims around terrorism and culture. So why them? Why not take Cubans or Laotians or Venezuelans or some non-Muslim Africans? We’re still helping people who are in horrendous situations. There’s just less risks around these other groups. Am I collectivizing? Sure. But we can’t bring a billion people here. There have to be decisions made on who to bring in. Why not choose the ones who are less likely to bring problems with them?

      1. There is a strong desire to cling to the idea that all religions are basically the same. Acknowledging reality would be too intellectually painful.

    1. Good link, thanks. I am willing to admit small numbers of refugees who will not be a burden on the taxpayer, who will assimilate, and who will not be a terror risk. Muslim refugees always fail at least two of those tests.

  6. . It is a long process, but contrary to what I at first believed, it is not a very rigorous process.

    Long and not very rigorous? Reminds me of my ex husband!

  7. So as long as you have the heads of these agencies?and this is under the Obama administration?saying that they are unwilling to certify, unwilling to assure us that they’ve been properly screened, I think there is more work to do. Now what all that work is, I don’t know. I don’t know all the details of the screening process and how we can improve it. Certainly these officials who are in charge of it should come up with better ways so they can feel confident.

    Gee whiz Trump inner circle, it may have been a good idea to lead with that.

    1. Yes. The problem with this hasn’t necessarily been the concept but the execution and the focus. There’s a kernel of an idea worth considering, but it’s wrapped up in a shoddy, ill-considered execution. I hope Reason sees fit to give us more of this kind of analysis rather than more Trump-kills-grandma nonsense.

  8. Everyone prospers when there is freedom across the world.

    Everyone else prospers too much, sir. Build the wall and implement a border tax, and then only the US will prosper.

    1. Live long and…possibly prosper?

      *half-hearted Vulcan salute*

    2. I don’t understand why US immigration restrictions and bilateral trade agreements prevent the rest of the world from being free and prosperous.

      1. If the trade agreements include trade restrictions I don’t see how anyone prospers. Immigration is different, but that depends on the restrictions. That being said, something like stopping all immigration from Muslim-dominated countries certainly does not help those people who want to make better lives for themselves prosper.

        1. That being said, something like stopping all immigration from Muslim-dominated countries certainly does not help those people who want to make better lives for themselves prosper.

          to borrow from Razorfist’s recent argument = i think the fact that Mexico has been able to dump onto the US millions of people disadvantaged by their very-corrupt status quo has likely served to perpetuate their very-corrupt status quo

          If those people were instead forced to reconcile with demanding reforms from their own government, that government would eventually begin to change. Instead, most choose to be ‘slightly less poor’ in a less-corrupt USA, than hopelessly poor in a very-corrupt Mexico. While i don’t begrudge people the right to do so, I do think its probably wrong to pretend that America does Mexico as a whole any great favors in this regard.

          1. *for the record = i’m not necessarily endorsing this argument, or saying it applies everywhere. just pointing out that interesting cases have been made suggesting that there isn’t any ‘mutual benefit’ in a US-policy which is treated like a ‘pressure release valve’ by its neighbors.

            I also don’t think it necessarily applies to the ME. I think there is a better case there for “stop overthrowing governments and then declaring a moral responsibility for the victims of your shitty coup-attempts”

            1. I was making a general statement that tariffs, and either a wall around half the country, or a ban on Muslim immigration, will reduce prosperity for both the United States and others.

              1. a ban on Muslim immigration, will reduce prosperity for both the United States and others.

                without “more Muslims” (as opposed to Sikhs or Zoroastrians) in America ASAP, everyone is worse off?

                i missed where it was clarified why Muslims in particular are the special-sauce of American prosperity.

                1. without “more Muslims” (as opposed to Sikhs or Zoroastrians) in America ASAP, everyone is worse off?

                  Did I type anything close to that?

    3. You know who doesn’t prosper? The people whose blood and money went to ensuring that freedom. They get fucked.

      1. Can you elaborate?

        I’m honestly not sure what you are saying.

  9. There’s no reason we can’t cut back a bit on the number of refugees admitted. We’d still be a net receiver of refugees and probably one of the best, but there’s no need to go full-on TDS.

    This strikes me as a good statement of applicable principles:

    “2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

    “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”

    1. Just to be clear, not the qualifying phrase “to the extent they are able,” as well as duties of immigrants to their adoptive country and its heritage.

      Note also that it says “means of livelihood,” not “welfare checks.”

      1. *note* the qualifying phrase

  10. No we really don’t have to trust anyone. We don’t owe anyone admission to this country. More importantly, it is not our job to save the Syrians or anyone else. If Reason thinks it is, then they need to rethink their positions on interventionism. If it is the US’s moral duty to accept refugees from failed states, it is hard then not also say it is their moral duty to intervene and try to clean up such failed states. Moreover, if disorder and chaos in the world require the US to go to the expense and trouble of accepting refugees who have no skills and few economic prospects in this country and whose children are going to require a lot of money and effort to educate and assimilate, then the public is understandably going to take more of an interest in keeping the world stable so they can avoid these costs.

    Why the fuck should the taxpayers have to see their money go to “vet” these people? If it costs a bunch of time and effort to figure out if they are not coming here to kill us, how about we avoid the issue altogether and let in some people from some place where we don’t have to worry about them being terrorists?

    Fuck you Amish. Seriously, fuck you. You want to save Syria, get your sorry ass on a plane and go help do it. Stop spending everyone else’ money and safety so you can feel good about yourself.

    1. Here’s the thing – Trump isn’t trying to stop all refugees – he isn’t FDR.

      He just wants fewer, better and less risky refugees.

      This is quite consistent, in principle, with what I quoted above – that rich countries don’t have to bear more than their fair share of immigrants, they can look to their country’s economic capacity, they can insist that immigrants support American institutions, they don’t have to support them in idleness.

      When it comes to Middle Eastern refugees, Trump is focusing on religious minorities who are being persecuted for their religion – many of these people seem fully able to be loyal, contributing members of American society if they come here to seek the “means of livelihood,” not the means of welfare.

      And by focusing on the people who have been persecuted by the jihadis, we are more likely to get a loyal and, indeed, fervently anti-jihadist population.

      1. When the French took in Irish refugees, they acquired loyal soldiers willing to fight the enemies of France, most particularly England.

        When the North took in refugees from Southern slavery, they were ultimately able to organize many of these refugees into military units to fight the former slavemasters – even racist Northern whites appreciated how this took some of the pressure off white soldiers.

    2. John, you must’nt have read the article. Amash pretty much said they’re still inconveniencing green card holders (which is shitty), that the screening process sucks and needs to be improved, and that the principles behind immigration don’t change just because people want to do us harm.

      From the article:

      we do our best to look at the people who we might be most concerned about, but certainly I wouldn’t put lawful permanent residences up there at the top of the list, just like I wouldn’t put citizens up there. We wouldn’t want to subject citizens to additional harassment every time they go someplace?although we do see that with TSA, obviously?but we wouldn’t want to do that just for the sake of saying, “Okay, well, some of these citizens might be bad.” Sure, some American citizens might also want to do us harm, but that’s just not the way you operate in a free country.

      And so I think that the list that was, yes, drawn up during the Obama administration for totally different purposes?not for the same purposes, for different purposes?is mostly a political list. It is more a political list than a safety list, and if we are worried about the safety of our citizens here then we should be looking at countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where a lot of the radicalism arises.

    3. Seriously, “Fuck you Amish” is one of the best ones yet.

      I know it gets your goat a little when people get a laugh out of your alternative spellings, but I promise we’re laughing with you, not at you. It’s just something about the way you in particular misspell – it always makes something glorious, rather than just being transposed letters that don’t make sense, like trasnposed.

      1. A couple of Urkobold posts started with a John malapropism. He’s great at those. Not sure how he does it.

      2. I’m pretty sure most of us ARE laughing at him, but whatever.

    4. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

      Oops!

    5. how about we avoid the issue altogether and let in some people from some place where we don’t have to worry about them being terrorists?

      So, people France, Germany, and England are not allowed in?

      1. If they are Muslims, yes. Why does being a Muslim coming from Germany make you less of an issue?

        Or do you think that there is a problem with German Lutherans or Atheists coming here to fight for Isis?

      2. *guffaws loudly*

        Guess we should have taken Irish (IRA) for a few decades either…or Italians (Red Brigades)…or Peruvians (Sendero Luminoso)….or Spanish (ETA)…

        1. Did the IRA ever bomb anyone here? Not that I am aware. But regardless, our coddling of the IRA in the 70s was disgraceful. We shouldn’t have let the Irish in either when they were blowing shit up in London.

          1. “We’ll take the niggers and the chinks, but we don’t want any Irish.”

        2. Basque arent Spanish, or at least I am pretty sure they will tell you that.

    6. Fuck you Amish.

      And this is why, as low as he may sometimes sink, John will never be just another TEAM RED troll.

  11. Dalmia Watch:

    shikha sood dalmia ?@shikhadalmia 26m26 minutes ago
    More
    When facts are always “alternative,” brute force is all that’s left in settling with intellectual opponents!

    So the left is justified in utilizing brute force because that’s the next logical step in resolving disputes owing to the fact that member of the administration said something nebulous. Shikha’s really working overtime to prove what piece of garbage she is.

    1. She has the rare distinction of being one of the only Reason writers I can’t & won’t defend. It’s that…fucking…bad.

      1. As I and many other have said over the last couple days, she is indefensible. And Nick Gillespie doesn’t give a shit, he keeps publishing her tripe.

        1. I believe her employment with reason Foundation means that sort of automatic. David Nott needs to get a hatchet.

      2. She seems to be rapidly crashing….I wonder if she is setting up the old “I used to be a libertarian until…”

        1. I noticed her articles over the last year or so seemed to get less coherent in their criticisms and become more polemic.

          I hope she doesn’t have a brain tumor, or a vestigial twin that she consumed in the womb that has now developed & is forcing it’s way out of the side of her head and compelling her to kill and/or publish bad articles.

          1. Hey, no brain tumor discrimination!

            1. Is vestigial twin discrimination OK? Or did you have one of those as well?

              1. No, that’s fine. Send out the clones.

        2. She got her liberaltarian decoder ring from Will Wilkinson, so she’s been accepted into the club. No need to keep up pretenses any longer.

        3. She says “Libertarian because it pisses me off less frequently than the alternatives.” on her Twitface profile. Not exactly a hard core movement supporter.

          1. That’s probably the least damning thing on her twitter page. Yet still damning enough to make one question her presence at the magazine.

            1. Indeed. That was just close enough to Swiss’s “I used to be a libertarian until…” that it seemed worth quoting.

    2. Jesus Christ, instead of stopping the digging, she’s traded in her shovel for a John Deere excavator. I’m not a take-my-ball-and-go-home type. I enjoy philosophical sparring, and while I have been mocking a lot of the recent posts I’m not one to stomp and say this person should be fired.

      I’m saying it this time. There is no conceivable explanation Dalmia could give that would make me think she’s anything other than a confirmed opponent of free speech, and I can’t think of a reason why Reason would continue giving her a platform. She’s disgusting.

    3. ROFLMAO, now she’s making passive-aggressive, borderline violent threats. If you really want to be uncharitable, it almost sounds like she’s calling for another civil war.

      I may call President Trump’s attention to this and humbly suggest that he should think about deporting her. But please, feel free to come at me with some “brute force” anytime, Dipshit Scumbagetta.

      1. But please, feel free to come at me with some “brute force” anytime

        That sounds like a pickup line, Mikey.

        Over/under on how long it is before Mikey starts asserting that Shikha is actually Weigel in drag?

        1. You’re assuming he doesn’t already think that

          1. No, i’m pretty sure he has the germ* of an idea. But he hasn’t started asserting it yet.

            *A germ is all that will fit in his pointy little skull.

        2. As insane as your buddy Weigel is, I don’t think even he has gotten to the of calling for violent revolution or civil war just yet.

          1. Shut up, Dave – we all know it’s you.

          2. Mike,
            Word on the Reason website is that you are Weigel and you wear a pink frilly dress. Care to talk about it?
            *strikes listening pose while swirling finger by temporal lobe*

            1. Everything makes so much sense now.

        3. I’m just wondering why he hasn’t changed his handle to “Domestic Bootlicker” yet.

    4. Someone in the commentariat is making a big show of support for her on Twitter, actually pointing out my posts. But this person has yet to actually wade into the comments and defend her statements.

      1. CHECK THE LINK BEFORE CLICKING. FUCK.

        1. I think Kizone Kaprow got banned a long time ago.

            1. It’s nice to know we still loom large in his lucid moments.

          1. Back when trolls were irritating and destructive.

          2. So a failed troll that somehow managed to get banned from the least ban-happy comment section on the interwebs, is her only defender. Fitting.

            1. Don’t engage her. Seriously.

              1. Definitely watch her Youtube videos though!

                  1. Patience, young grasshopper.

            2. Is Kizone Kaprow the Gamblor?

              1. Kizone Kaprow = Mary Stack

      2. Lol, Mary is still chugging along.

    5. Jesus. So is she in the black bloc now? I’m not big on “Fire this person for what they said on Twitter!”, but if I was one of the Big Three, I’d want to sit down with her and find out what’s up. It’s definitely not an attitude that should be seeping into her work for Reason.

      1. She is an apologist for the thugs that are attacking people and rioting because their preferred candidate lost an election. Does Reason have any kind of morality clause in their contracts?

        1. For those of us who are at work and can’t follower twitter, can you give me a sample of what’s going on?

          I’m hearing her being part of the black cock, defending rioters, etc. Sounds outrageous, even for her.

          1. I’m hearing her being part of the black cock

            Whoa, that took a turn.

          2. I’m hearing her being part of the black cock

            Is that you, John? LOL

          3. No but I’m posting her tweets so that no one on the Reason boards will be misguided for one moment about who she is and what she’s all about. I’ll continue post her evil brand of stupidity as it unfolds.

          4. I’m hearing her being part of the black cock

            Oh my god

          5. Well fuck me, everybody was more interested in my throw-away joke than the actual question.

            I committed a classic 4chan blunder.

            1. shikha sood dalmia ?@shikhadalmia
              Honest condemnation of #Berkley violence must also condemn those who invited him.What’s point except baiting n inciting in Trump’s America?
              shikha sood dalmia ?@shikhadalmia
              America has never known what it feels like to be marginalized in the world. Under Trump, it’ll find out! More countries should boycott Trump

              1. “Honest condemnation of #Berkley violence must also condemn those who invited him.What’s point except baiting n inciting in Trump’s America?”

                Ah, the ol’ ‘Those fags shouldn’t of walked in here if they didn’t want a beating’ argument.

                Very sophisticated.

            2. Hey now, I responded to your question. I’ll keep posting Dalmia’s stupidity as it overflows into the world. I promise.

          6. She twitted: “Honest condemnation of #Berkley violence must also condemn those who invited him.What’s point except baiting n inciting in Trump’s America?”

            Maybe not quite defending rioters, but pretty fucked.

            1. shikha sood dalmia ?@shikhadalmia 4h4 hours ago
              More
              No matter what the moral rot on the left, the right always manages to outdo it! Sad!

              Here is “defense by relativity”.

            2. shikha sood dalmia ?@shikhadalmia 26m26 minutes ago
              More
              When facts are always “alternative,” brute force is all that’s left in settling with intellectual opponents!

              And here she is defending them by claiming that the left had literally no other choice than to “use brute force”.

              1. That’s really awful. What a stupid twat.

      2. I feel like when your job is political, or even political journalism, your tweets might cross that line.
        A brewer or a cpa? I don’t care one bit what your twitter feed is, it has little to no bearing on the job.

        1. I guess her Tweets would be right in line if she were writing articles for a communist publication. If only…

        2. Her job at Reason is as a policy analyst, as ridiculous as that is to a lot of us. She doesn’t have to, and from my recollection rarely if ever does, comment on Milo or college campuses or protests or free speech under the Reason masthead. As anti-liberal as her thoughts are on speech and civil struggles, it is not necessarily relevant to analyzing immigration stats or health care costs or Detroit food trucks.

          1. Yeah but if she posts what someone deems to be an “alternative fact” about immigration, that person is entitled to “use brute force” against her. According to her own fucked up standards, that is.

            1. Maybe she’s thinking of converting to Islam and becoming a terrorist. She might as well, frankly.

              1. She’s of more use to them in the ivory tower.

  12. It is a long process, but … not a very rigorous process.

    So, a government program?

    1. ….um, yeah.

      *wanders off, whistling tunelessly*

  13. There will be alternatives, and I will be there. Someone has to keep the puns in check…

    We can only hope, but if they use disqus you can count me out.

    1. That’s from a Beatles song, right?

        1. Wrong, sir, wrong! Revolution +9.

    2. I would drink Drano before going into Disqus.

  14. Now….it seems to be changing, rapidly, into something less…concerned with being a thoughtful advocate for “Free Minds and Free Markets”.

    The “free markets” part certainly seems to have been lost in the shuffle. One would have thought the addition of demonstrably intelligent and successful people to government agencies would be welcomed, not feared.

    1. One would have thought the addition of demonstrably intelligent and successful people to government agencies would be welcomed, not feared.

      Why, if they’re all still just authoritarians? Intelligent and successful authoritarians are just that much more likely to “get things done” at the expense of everyone else than the other kind.

  15. Kmele-Amash 2020

    1. I’d vote for that ticket, or at least wear a t-shirt in support.

      1. I’d say I’d wear a t-shirt in support.

  16. You have to say that you’re not allegiant to a foreign totalitarian system of thought.

    So some welfare isn’t totalitarian.

    Mises is spinning in his grave. There is no third way.

  17. We wouldn’t want to subject citizens to additional harassment every time they go someplace?although we do see that with TSA, obviously

    We see it more with Border Patrol. You know, the thing Trump wants to increase.

    Amash is the best we have and he still misses the obvious?

  18. More Shikhaderp? Why not!

    shikha sood dalmia ?@shikhadalmia ? 6h6 hours ago

    No matter what the moral rot on the left, the right always manages to outdo it! Sad!

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but which side is the one physically attacking people and destroying private property? I must have lost track.

  19. Oh, Amash. You are the best. I wish I was in your district.
    *puts out knucks for a terrorist fist-jab*

    1. These masturbation euphemisms are getting kinda dark.

  20. “We cannot prevent every terrorist attack” is fantastic reasoning for spending less money on trying to save lives via antiterrorism measures. From an actuarial point of view that money would be much better spent a ton of other ways…for example, the government could try to cut down on furniture-related fatalities by engineering more tipping-proof televisions and sending DHS bureaucrats to help me on moving day. (The preceding sentence was only 15% sarcastic).

    However, money will be spent on border control either way, for a multitude of economic and logistical reasons that go beyond mere counterterrorism. So while, as always, I respect Amash’s carefully reasoned positions, I don’t see any reason why the rarity of terrorist attacks would exclude terrorism as a screening criteria when, logically speaking, screening is absolutely going to happen either way.

    (I am in favor of more immigration as a whole, and also in favor of retaining some measure of admission criteria.)

  21. OT: Were there as many violent demonstrations against President Obama in 8 years than there have been in almost two weeks of President Trump?

    1. Were there any violent demonstrations at all? I’m not aware of any violence at Tea Parties.

      1. I think there was one person who was curbstomped by a Rand Paul supporter. What violence there was was usually from the left, but I’m certain there were one or two incidents that did not make the Tea Party look good.

    2. I don’t know, how to feel about Facebook as a source of news?

      1. how to feel

        how do you…

  22. What’s changed? What’s worth tossing out beliefs and systems that have contributed to the freest, wealthiest, most technologically advanced nation in history? We are far from perfect, but what’s the alternative? Less freedom, less wealth, more tyranny? Hasn’t that been tried far more than needed to prove that it doesn’t work? What kind of idiots think destroying Western culture bolsters happiness or improves the human condition?

    1. What kind of idiots think destroying Western culture bolsters happiness or improves the human condition?

      Howard Zinn?

      1. The entire far left thinks that.

    2. What’s worth tossing out beliefs and systems that have contributed to the freest, wealthiest, most technologically advanced nation in history?

      Absolute, godlike power. Better to reign in hell than rule in heaven, and all that.

  23. Were there as many violent demonstrations against President Obama in 8 years than there have been in almost two weeks of President Trump?

    A lynching here, a lynching there… so hard to keep track.

  24. Yo, Welch!

    Thanks for the brief transcript this time around. Good to know some of the staff is still willing to accept input from us on occasion. 😉

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