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Most favor halting refugee resettlement

A majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll favors the United States halting the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq until tighter screening procedures are in place.

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would impose stringent new screening procedures for refugees from war-torn Syria and Iraq. The Senate could soon take up the bill, which government officials have said would effectively halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in this country.

President Barack Obama, who has said he would veto the measure if it reaches his desk, wants the United States to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year. In fiscal 2015, this country accepted some 1,600 Syrian refugees.

Refugees currently are screened by several different agencies in a process that officials say takes up to two years. The measure in Congress would require the FBI director, Homeland Security secretary and director of national intelligence to certify in each individual case that a refugee is not a security threat.

Among those voting for the House bill were local representatives including Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, who was one of 47 Democrats to join with Republicans to pass the measure.

Poll respondents were very split when factoring in their political affiliation. Of those who identified themselves as Republican, 78 percent said the government should halt resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq, compared with 27 percent of Democrats.

Opponents of the legislation argue that the extra screening is not needed and that halting resettlement of Syrian refugees is contrary to America’s humanitarian principles

Nearly 785 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Should the United States halt resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq until tighter screening
procedures are in place?
Yes: 56%
No: 44%

What is your political affiliation?
Democrat: 24%
Republican: 33%
Non-affiliated: 37%
Other: 7%

For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here.

If you had a bowl of M&Ms, and you knew that 10 out of 10,000 were poison and would kill you, how many would you eat?
—John Midolo, RCM Strategies LLC

Yearning to be free and safe and have opportunity—just like the ancestors of every U.S. citizen living in the country today. What is happening in the Middle East is a new holocaust. How the people of the U.S. deal with immigration will demonstrate their character and integrity.
—Eve Elzenga, Eve Elzenga Design

How could a sane person argue that we must accept vast quantities of “refugees” when the group has been salted with terrorists and current screening procedures are totally inadequate?
—George Dounce

Ask an injured combat veteran what they think.
—Rich Calabrese Jr., Rochester

Louise Slaughter deserves a back-handed Profile in Courage Award for going along with the xenophobia of know-nothing Republicans.
—James Leunk

We must be a safe country and do everything possible to be a safe country. It didn’t work very well for France and it will happen again many more times in Europe in the future. Remember the words “Death to America” from the top leaders in Iran right after agreeing to a so-called peace treaty. Take them at their word because right now it is a warning the next action will not be a warning. We have lost too many good Americans with the words “Death to America.” We cannot let our borders and the process to come to America fail.
—Ken Pamatat, Creative Images

This is not a rush to do, for the consequent results will cause great harm to U.S.A. Have we not learned that our lives are always in peril and those who wish us harm are ready again? The NATO and free world countries must unite to bring peace for all peoples. United we stand to destroy ISIL, no other way.
—Ted Voll Jr.

Many of us are here in the country because our ancestors were fleeing persecution of some sort. This country was founded on refugees. Why would we keep today’s refugees out?
—M. Curtain, Rochester

First, we can’t afford them—spend the money on the veterans. Second, too much risk; there is no way to properly vet them.
—Frank Gerham

Let’s not play into ISIS’s hands!
—C. Lewis, Perinton

In the wake of the Paris tragedy, it is delusional to allow Syrian refugees into this country on a massive scale. The unimpeded flow of refugees into Europe is destabilizing the host countries and the unassimilated Muslim communities are radicalized by the Islamic jihadists. We should not repeat the same mistakes here. Nonetheless, effective humanitarian relief is necessary for the civilians caught up in this war. A more effective approach includes: 1. Establish a sealed border 50 miles wide inside the Syrian-Turkish border. Establish refugee camps, administered by international relief agencies, in the safe zone. 2. Do the same thing on the Jordanian-Syrian border. 3. Give more arms and economic help to the Kurds in northern Iraq. 4. Establish refugee centers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states. With their oil wealth, they have a moral obligation to fund the international relief efforts throughout the region. 5. The U.S. should lead an international coalition to confront and destroy the Islamic extremists’ networks worldwide. Of course, this will never happen because the Obama administration considers “climate change” to be the main threat to international peace. How humanitarian is that?
—Tom Reidy

The U.S. should use whatever means necessary to stomp out the evil that took over their homeland and let them return home!
—Mark Williams

Common sense tells us that “terrorists” will not wait two years for the vetting process to be completed. Our greatest concern should be our visa program, where I believe most if not all of the plane hijackers gained access back in 2001. I think the Syrian refugee crisis is a convenient target for those who want to divert our attention to more pressing issues. For example, shouldn’t we be more concerned with those on our current “terrorist list” being able to purchase guns without a background check. Oh! I forgot. The NRA would not like it.
—Peter Bonenfant, Fairport

I am not a Christian, but I marvel at the hypocrisy of a supposedly Christian nation refusing to help refugees out of fear.
—Wayne Donner, Rush

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” End of comment.
—Mike Bergin, Chariot Learning

This has been political grandstanding of the worst—and I mean worst—order, playing to fear and the worst instincts in people. Nothing is risk-free, but the refugee process is far less dangerous than even ordinary travel visas. It takes 18 to 24 months to be processed. It’s rigorous and it’s random; no terrorist could predict what country he would be sent to. This type of xenophobic, security first, “Not In My Back Yard” philosophy has never been redeemed by history and ends up being an embarrassment that lessens our moral standing in the world. We have appalling domestic examples in pre-WWII attitudes toward Jewish refugees, Japanese American internment, McCarthyism, and worldwide one can look at numerous other examples. It just doesn’t ever end up on the right side of history. And the fact is that the cold, calculating risk-reward analysis comes out in favor of supporting the refugee program. The greatest risk we run is the continued success of ISIL’s recruitment process, and by fostering a narrative that we are at war with all Muslims by aggressively turning against the most vulnerable to oppose a very low-risk program, primarily for political leverage, we play right into their hands.
—John Hart

Under Obama’s watch, our immigration policy has been a disaster, it’s lawless. Even liberal constitutional law professors such as (constitutional lawyer and George Washington University law professor) Jonathan Turley, an Obama supporter, has stated that the Constitution was written to protect the country against individuals such as Obama. A recent poll showed that 1 of 8 of Syrian refugees had a positive view of IS. Another 1 out of 25 had no opinion. That means almost 17 percent of Syrian refugees either are supporters of Islamist terrorists or don’t oppose them. Also, 62 percent of the Syrian refugees are males in the 16- to 40-year-old age group, which are at or near military age. This is where the biggest demographic for Islamic terrorists is. Overall 72 percent of Syrian refugees are male. Also, there have been numerous women who have committed terrorist acts. One of the suicide bombers in the recent Paris disaster was a woman. So put a temporary hold on Syrian refugees to avoid another Trojan horse in the U.S. In fact, let’s put pressure on our ally, Saudi Arabia, and other friendly Muslim countries to absorb the refugees. Saudi Arabia has 100,000 climate-controlled, high-quality tents near Mecca which could be used as intermediate housing for the refugees. If anything, the Syrian Christians who are going through genocide, mass rapes, etc. in the Middle East should be given asylum in the Christian-friendly United States. They certainly are not welcome in most Muslim countries. However, only 53 Christian Syrian refugees of the recent masses have been have been admitted to the U.S.
—John Rynne

Seventy-three percent of the refugees are men of fighting age. They should be fed, housed, trained and sent back to their countries of origin to fight for their independence, before we have to send boots on the ground.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D., Vanguard Psychiatric Services PC

After watching what is happening in Europe, I think we should be extremely cautious. I have no problem letting those suffering religious persecution in Syria and Iraq (Jews, Christians, Yazidis etc.) emigrate here. We have all read about and viewed the atrocities committed against them. I have a big problem with those perpetrating (or who condone or tolerate) these awful deeds (Muslims) who are fleeing simply for economic reasons.
—George Thomas, Ogden

12/4/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

One comment

  1. Despite no evidence that refugees have done any terrorist acts on US soil, people’s paranoia and racism remain. Before you even start, the Boston bombers were raised here in the U.S. Their parents were refugees and to all appearances were not Islamic Radicals. They became radicalized while living HERE not there. Our country was built on welcoming refugees from all shores. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish, Islamic, Christian, black, white, poor, rich, or any other “category”. I love how the users above are so paranoid that a refugee–fully vetted by multiple departments – might be a terrorist, but not that someone entering on a workers or marriage visa, or even a tourist visa is not (vetted way less thoroughly, I might add). The San Bernardino couple – should it turn out their motives were terrorist and not simple anger – were a US citizen and someone who entered on a marriage visa – not refugees. I love that it doesn’t worry you that 30,000 people a year die because of easy unregulated access to guns but it does worry you that one brown person who doesn’t speak perfect English might access have access to the privilege you have and be able to make a better life for themselves. Welcoming diverse ethnic groups to our country with open arms is the very best way we can improve our world. Leaving people to die of starvation after you fueled a war driving them out of their own country is an excellent way to incite more terrorists. Or did you who voted to reject Syrian refugees forget that we’re talking about people here?

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