The Anti-Refugee Movement Is America at Its Most Ignorant
Trump supporters are organizing a boycott of Starbucks – again. This time, the crime isn’t an insufficiently Christmas-y cup, but the company’s pledge to hire 10,000 refugees.
Columnist Michelle Malkin ripped the decision as evidence of “radical progressive” tendencies. Her piece in the National Review, entitled “Not All Refugees Are Welcome,” expressed everything that is wrong and ignorant about the Trump movement.
Forget about the obvious deficits of humanity, empathy and generosity, always a given with Trumpian politics. The president and mouthpieces like Malkin are also deficient when it comes to values they profess to care a lot about, specifically patriotism and self-interest.
Malkin made a list of refugees who are not welcome:
“Muslim extremist refugees seeking to wage jihad on our soil and kill all infidels are not welcome here.
“Anti-American refugees seeking to transform our society and culture into a Balkanized hell are not welcome here…
“Jobless refugees seeking to soak up our tax dollars while griping about our lack of generosity are not welcome here.”
One of the constant refrains on the Trump campaign trail was some version of the construction, “I don’t care how they come in, if they come in legally.”
The American refugee program is the ultimate test case of that statement. Refugees only get here after a lengthy screening process. Each candidate is individually screened by multiple security agencies. They’re fingerprinted and checked for criminal ties and terrorist associations.
So regarding Malkin’s first point, this would be the last route any terrorist organization would choose to infiltrate the United States. It would be like trying to be a stowaway on a battleship. The concern that you’re going to get a jihadist coming in this way is irrational at best.
As for the rest: many years ago, I worked in Massachusetts as a counselor and translator for refugees from ex-Soviet countries. Our major task was helping them find jobs upon arrival. We would have considered it manna from heaven to be able to call up a company like Starbucks and place the people we had coming through in jobs serving coffee or washing floors.
We had PhDs, mathematicians, surgeons, architects and scientists who would gladly have done those jobs. I even had a lead soprano from an opera house as a client.
Everyone who does this kind of work will tell you that in every group of refugees, as in every group of people, you’ll find all types. Yes, there are people who come here looking for a handout. There are people who complain. There are people who just want to drive a cab and buy a TV.
But on the whole, the refugee program is a huge net plus, for everyone. The overwhelming majority of refugees have been through significant hardship. They’re grateful, civic-minded and anxious to contribute. Doctors, dentists, linguists and engineers come in willing to scrub pots and clean motel rooms.
It’s a win-win. Employers, specifically small-business owners, tend to get personally invested in the project of helping a family in need. And they usually get a skilled and diligent worker who is urgently motivated to succeed and give back. The program is, exactly and down to the very last detail, the ideal of what our country is supposed to stand for. It’s tragic that we’re raising a generation of people who don’t understand that.