The Corner

Politics & Policy

Spare us the Sanctimony on Migrants, President Obama

Speaking today about his administration’s decision to bring tens of thousands of unvettable Syrian migrants to America, President Obama went into full moral-preening mode:

President Obama said on Monday morning that the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed more than 100 people on Friday should not affect the small intake of Syrian refugees into the United States. “Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values,” he said during remarks at the G20 economic summit in Antalya, Turkey.

This is pure nonsense. A person can support a compassionate response to the Syrian refugee crisis without also supporting their resettlement in Birmingham or Baton Rouge or Indianapolis. The choice isn’t America or death. In previous conflicts, Americans have helped carve out safe havens and have staffed and supplied refugee camps. Indeed, one of the most prominent of those safe havens – post-Gulf War Kurdistan — ultimately became not only a thriving enclave of sanity in a sea of violent madness but also one of our most valued regional allies. 

The Obama administration insults our intelligence if it claims we can trust the government’s vetting process. And it insults our character if it pretends that aiding refugees abroad while defeating the enemy that drove so many of them from their homes is a “betrayal of our values.” Americans have big hearts, but we also have brains, and we can certainly discern the difference between generosity and foolishness.

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