The Travel Ban Is about Vetting — Which Means It’s about Islam

President Donald Trump prepares to sign an executive order. (Reuters photo: Jonathan Ernst)

Because the United States is in a defensive war against sharia supremacism.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, March 18, 2017:

It is not about the executive orders. When it comes to protecting the United States from the threats posed by radical Islam, it has never been about President Donald Trump’s executive orders: the first one that was torpedoed by the radical judiciary in January, and the new and improved version that was suspended this week — the Lawyer Left having conveniently managed to shop its challenge to Barack Obama’s fellow Hawaiian and Harvard Law School classmate Judge Derrick Watson.

The issue is vetting. Each executive order was conceived as a temporary step, a “hold in place” measure while the permanent solution, vetting, was carefully crafted and ultimately implemented.

Now, just as the Left hoped, the temporary step has not only overwhelmed the permanent solution. It has made the permanent solution much more difficult — perhaps impossible — to achieve.

The president’s first order was not invalidated because it was invalid. It was invalidated by an outrageous political maneuver disguised as a judicial decision by the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court. Yet government lawyers — especially the law-and-order, have-faith-in-the-system types — can’t help themselves. They see litigation as a high-minded chess game, winnable by reasoned strategy: Look at what the court said the infirmities were, address them, and then take another crack at persuading the tribunal.

But that’s not the game being played by the Ninth Circuit and the many progressive activists among the 300-odd lawyers President Obama placed on the federal bench (that’s life tenure, boys and girls). They are about winning the war, not the skirmish.

The Ninth Circuit struck down the first executive order not because it transgressed the theoretical constitutional rights of lawful permanent-resident aliens, immigrant visa holders, or state universities. The judges struck it down because they are the political Left. This had nothing to do with law. The Left has a policy objection to the notion of subjecting Muslims to heightened immigration scrutiny, because it has a policy objection to government recognition of the nexus between Islamic scripture and terrorism committed by Muslims.

For the Left, the law is not a corpus of constitutional and statutory principles to be applied. It is a pliable weapon for achieving policy goals, enabling will-to-power to masquerade as a “legal process.”

No tweaking of an executive order will overcome that.

Tweaking the executive order is not going to bring the Ninth Circuit around. Or judge Watson. Or federal-district judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland, another Obama-appointee who joined Watson in blocking Trump’s directive. Understand this: There is no way to craft an order restricting immigration from Muslim countries that will satisfy them — no matter how rife with jihadism the countries are, no matter how manifest it is that their dysfunctional or anti-American regimes make visa background checks impossible.

The Trump administration seems oddly stunned by this. It is as if they believed they were in a real, bona fide legal dispute; as if a few modifications in response to the judges’ express legal objections were going to make the Left’s implacable policy objection go away.

It was never going to work that way.

The courts were never going to grapple with the four corners of the executive orders — the undeniable, unambiguous, sweeping legislative authority vested in the president to restrict alien entry into the U.S.; the fact that non-immigrant aliens outside the U.S. do not have constitutional rights; the fact that our system makes border security against foreign threats the responsibility of the accountable political branches, not the unaccountable judiciary.

This is politics of a most demagogic kind, not legal analysis. So what the courts offer instead is a dark theory of purportedly rabid anti-Muslim bias, cobbled together by parol evidence of campaign-trail rhetoric.

And the administration fell for it. The administration has been goaded into replying, “No, no, no — this has nothing to do with Islam.” It points to the 85 percent of Muslim aliens globally who are unaffected by the orders. It stresses that the countries with the world’s largest Muslim populations — Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan . . . — are not touched by the orders. It notes that countries covered by the order were first cited in legislation signed by Obama, not because they were Muslim but because they had unstable or hostile regimes that defy reliable immigrant screening. It emphasizes that of the original seven Islamic countries, one has now been exempted from the temporary ban — i.e., that the trajectory is to affect fewer Muslims, not more.

That’s great . . . if what you’re trying to achieve is a temporary step followed by . . . nothing.

The goal here, though, is to achieve a screening system that vets for Islamic radicalism. How do you ever get there if, to try to justify a temporary step that provides no material security improvements, you disavow a purpose to subject alien Muslims to heightened scrutiny?

If that is not what President Trump’s “extreme vetting” is about, then what’s the point? Why bother with any of this?

Here is the blunt, inescapable fact: The United States is in a defensive war against what is imprecisely called “radical Islam.” The war proceeds on two tracks: the kinetic militancy of jihadists, and the cultural challenge of anti-Western, anti-constitutional Islamic law and mores. The ideology that catalyzes both tracks is sharia supremacism — the implementation and spreading of sharia, classical Islam’s societal structure and legal code, is the rationale for all jihadist terror and of all the Islamist cultural aggression that slipstreams behind it.

The dividing line is sharia supremacism. On one side of it we find patriotic, pro-American Muslims who are spiritually devout but reject the imposition of sharia on civil and political life; on the other, the Islamists — the sharia supremacists. The challenge posed by the latter is not merely that some percentage of them are jihadists; it is that as a population — or as enclaves that take hold in the West — they are assimilation-resistant, and their ideological havens will breed the jihadists of the future while stifling the Constitution in the here and now.

That is what we have to vet for. That is what the majority of the American people want: Muslims who embrace our way of life invited in, Muslims who threaten our way of life kept out. You can’t get there without subjecting Muslim aliens to more-extensive inspection.

Of course it is unfortunate that innocent, pro-American Muslims have to be put through more paces than other aliens. But it is not quite as unfortunate as the incontestable fact that inadequately vetted Muslims commit mass-murder attacks. While some of the innocent, pro-American Muslims will resent the heightened scrutiny (though many will see the need for it), those who are eventually admitted to our country will be safer because of it — a matter of no small consequence since peaceful Muslims, more than any other group, are killed and persecuted by jihadists and other sharia supremacists. In any event, though, the security burden has to be imposed on someone, and as between Americans and aspiring Muslim immigrants, it is less the responsibility of Americans than of alien Muslims that Islam endorses war and conquest. We didn’t create this problem.

This is the vetting that the Left and the courts are determined to prevent. They would have you believe that the Constitution is a suicide pact: that alien Muslims somehow have a First Amendment establishment-clause right against enhanced inspection; that an immigration system that has always vetted against totalitarian political ideologies cannot vet against this one, sharia supremacism, because it shrouds itself in religion.

So forget the executive orders. This is the ground on which the Left has to be defeated. We will never get there by denying that Islam is the heart of the matter.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Dr. Daniel Pipes: Trump’s “extreme vetting” should include THESE questions

pipesThe Rebel, by Ezra Levant, February 11, 2017:

Trump has repeatedly promised that going forward, would-be immigrants would be subjected to “extreme vetting.” Dr. Daniel Pipes joins us to talk about his comprehensive list of suggested questions and methodology that he says the Trump administration could and should use during this process:

Study Reveals 72 Terrorists Came From Countries Covered by Trump Vetting Order

refugee-terrorismCenter for Immigration Studies, by Jessica Vaughan, February 11, 2017

A review of information compiled by a Senate committee in 2016 reveals that 72 individuals from the seven countries covered in President Trump’s vetting executive order have been convicted in terror cases since the 9/11 attacks. These facts stand in stark contrast to the assertions by the Ninth Circuit judges who have blocked the president’s order on the basis that there is no evidence showing a risk to the United States in allowing aliens from these seven terror-associated countries to come in.

In June 2016 the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, then chaired by new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, released a report on individuals convicted in terror cases since 9/11. Using open sources (because the Obama administration refused to provide government records), the report found that 380 out of 580 people convicted in terror cases since 9/11 were foreign-born. The report is no longer available on the Senate website, but a summary published by Fox News is available here.

The Center has obtained a copy of the information compiled by the subcommittee. The information compiled includes names of offenders, dates of conviction, terror group affiliation, federal criminal charges, sentence imposed, state of residence, and immigration history.

The Center has extracted information on 72 individuals named in the Senate report whose country of origin is one of the seven terror-associated countries included in the vetting executive order: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The Senate researchers were not able to obtain complete information on each convicted terrorist, so it is possible that more of the convicted terrorists are from these countries.

The United States has admitted terrorists from all of the seven dangerous countries:

  • Somalia: 20
  • Yemen: 19
  • Iraq: 19
  • Syria: 7
  • Iran: 4
  • Libya: 2
  • Sudan: 1
  • Total: 72

According to the report, at least 17 individuals entered as refugees from these terror-prone countries. Three came in on student visas and one arrived on a diplomatic visa.

At least 25 of these immigrants eventually became citizens. Ten were lawful permanent residents, and four were illegal aliens.

These immigrant terrorists lived in at least 16 different states, with the largest number from the terror-associated countries living in New York (10), Minnesota (8), California (8), and Michigan (6). Ironically, Minnesota was one of the states suing to block Trump’s order to pause entries from the terror-associated countries, claiming it harmed the state. At least two of the terrorists were living in Washington, which joined with Minnesota in the lawsuit to block the order.

Thirty-three of the 72 individuals from the seven terror-associated countries were convicted of very serious terror-related crimes, and were sentenced to at least three years imprisonment. The crimes included use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit a terror act, material support of a terrorist or terror group, international money laundering conspiracy, possession of explosives or missiles, and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

Some opponents of the travel suspension have tried to claim that the Senate report was flawed because it included individuals who were not necessarily terrorists because they were convicted of crimes such as identity fraud and false statements. About a dozen individuals in the group from the seven terror-associated countries are in this category. Some are individuals who were arrested and convicted in the months following 9/11 for involvement in a fraudulent hazardous materials and commercial driver’s license scheme that was extremely worrisome to law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies, although a direct link to the 9/11 plot was never claimed.

The information in this report was compiled by Senate staff from open sources, and certainly could have been found by the judges if they or their clerks had looked for it. Another example that should have come to mind is that of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who attacked and wounded 11 people on the campus of Ohio State University in November 2016. Artan was a Somalian who arrived in 2007 as a refugee.

President Trump’s vetting order is clearly legal under the provisions of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says that the president can suspend the entry of any alien or group of aliens if he finds it to be detrimental to the national interest. He should not have to provide any more justification than was already presented in the order, but if judges demand more reasons, here are 72.

***

Also see:

American Security and Islamic Reform

muslims

The government must vet aliens for sharia-supremacist ideology.

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — February 11, 2017

‘Do you think Islam needs reform?”

Wouldn’t it be interesting, wouldn’t it get us to the crux of the immigration debate, if our best news anchors — I’m looking at you, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier — would put that question to every major politician in Washington?

Instead, the press is asking not just the wrong question but one that utterly misses the point, namely: “How many terrorist attacks have been committed by immigrants from this handful of Muslim-majority countries?” It is the same wrong question posed by the imperious federal judge in Seattle who suspended President Trump’s temporary travel ban on aliens from those countries — seven of them. It is the same wrong question that animated the incorrigible Ninth Circuit appeals court in upholding this suspension — and intimating along the way that Trump, and by implication all who fear for the future of our country, are anti-Muslim bigots crusading against religious liberty (the Ninth Circuit being notoriously selective when it comes to protecting religious traditions).

Does the Trump administration realize it’s the wrong question? I wonder. Instead of attacking the question’s premise, the administration undertakes to answer it. It seems not to grasp that the security argument is not advanced, much less won, by compiling a list of terrorist plots.

Let’s try this again.

Islam does need reform. This is critical to our national security for two reasons that bear directly on the question of which aliens should, and which should not, be allowed into our country.

First, reform is essential because the broader Islamic religion includes a significant subset of Muslims who adhere to an anti-American totalitarian political ideology that demands implementation of sharia — Islamic law. This ideology and the repressive legal code on which it rests are not religion. We are not talking about the undeniably theological tenets of Islam (e.g., the oneness of Allah, the acceptance of Mohamed as the final prophet, and the Koran as Allah’s revelation). We are talking about a framework for the political organization of the state, and about the implementation of a legal corpus that is blatantly discriminatory, hostile to liberty, and — in its prescriptions of crime and punishment — cruel.

Islam must reform so that this totalitarian political ideology, sharia supremacism (or, if you prefer, “radical Islam”), is expressly severable from Islam’s truly religious tenets. To fashion an immigration policy that serves our vital national security interests without violating our commitment to religious liberty, we must be able to exclude sharia supremacists while admitting Muslims who reject sharia supremacism and would be loyal to the Constitution.

Second, sharia supremacists are acting on a “voluntary apartheid” strategy of gradual conquest. You needn’t take my word for it. Influential sharia supremacists encourage Muslims of the Middle East and North Africa to integrate into Western societies without assimilating Western culture. The renowned Muslim Brotherhood jurist Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who vows that “Islam will conquer Europe, conquer America,” urges Muslim migrants to demand the right to live in accordance with sharia. Turkey’s sharia-supremacist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, admonishes that pressuring Muslims to assimilate is “a crime against humanity.” The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim governments that purports to speak as a quasi-caliphate, promulgated its “Declaration of Human Rights in Islam” in 1990 — precisely because what the United Nations in 1948 presumptuously called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is neither “universal” nor suitable to a sharia culture.

Voluntary apartheid does not require insinuating terrorists into migrant populations. It requires insinuating assimilation-resistant migrant populations into Western countries. Those populations form sharia-supremacist enclaves, which (a) demand the autonomy to conduct their affairs under Islamic law as a challenge to the sovereign authority of the host country, and (b) become safe havens for incitement, radicalization, paramilitary training, fundraising, and jihadist conspiracy — the prerequisites for terrorism.

The problem is not that our “See No Islam” policies may be letting some small percentage of trained terrorists into the country (although that is certainly a problem). The main problem is that we are creating the conditions under which anti-American enclaves can take root, the Constitution can be undermined, and today’s young Muslim teenager becomes tomorrow’s radicalized jihadist.

RELATED: Weeding Out Terrorist Immigrants Isn’t Enough

We cannot grapple with these challenges if we are intimidated into silence by such questions as whether a “Muslim ban” is being proposed; whether heightened scrutiny would be tantamount to a “religion test”; how many refugees or aliens from this or that Muslim-majority country have been charged with terrorism crimes; whether Muslims would be disproportionately affected by immigration exclusions; and whether a ban on a few Muslim-majority countries can be justified if most Muslim-majority countries are exempted.

Such questions are designed to make vetting Muslims seem inconceivable. They are meant to exhaust you into conceding: “If we have to fret so mightily about the potential impact of immigration laws against Muslims, how could we possibly contemplate examining Muslims directly to sort out sharia supremacists from pro-American Muslims?” You are to pretend that there is no obvious subset of Muslims who are hostile to our country. You are to assume that screening for hostile Muslims would be illegal because to ask about Islam would offend religious liberty — but because you know there are hostile Muslims, you silently hope the authorities have figured out some sneaky, roundabout way to screen for them without appearing to screen for them.

Enough of that. We need to move beyond the “are we targeting Muslims” nonsense and get to the critical question: How do we embrace our Islamic friends while excluding our sharia-supremacist enemies?

Here’s a suggestion: Bring our Muslim friends, loud and proud, into the process.

The only people who may have more interest than we do in Islamic reform are Islamic reformers: courageous Muslims who embrace American constitutional principles of liberty and equality. And at great risk to themselves: Under the supremacist view of sharia, those who depart from Islamic-law principles set in stone a millennium ago are apostates, subject to the penalty of death. You’re not supposed to question that, though, because it’s, you know, “religion.”

How about we stop consulting with the Muslim Brotherhood and other sharia supremacists who tell us Islam is just fine as is, even as its aggressions mount? How about we bring the reformers very publicly into the vetting process, to help the administration tell the good guys from the bad guys? To help the administration show that it is not Muslims but anti-American totalitarians that we seek to exclude.

It is the reform Muslims who tell us that Islam can separate sharia from spiritual life and that pro-Western Muslims do exactly that. It is the sharia supremacists who are outraged by the very suggestion that reform is possible, let alone necessary. If we continue taking our cues from the latter, it means that their noxious political ideology is part and parcel of Islam, and therefore that screening to keep that ideology out of our country is a violation of First Amendment religious liberty.

In other words, if you’re unwilling to say that Islam needs reform, then we can’t vet . . . and we are doomed. On the other hand, if Islam does need reform, isn’t it imperative that we identify the Muslims who resist reform — the sharia supremacists who seek not to join but to radically change our free, constitutional society?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

No one is vetting Syrian refugees for signs of antisemitism

Checkpoint on Route 5, where the pipe bombs were discovered.. (photo credit:DEFENSE MINISTRY)

Checkpoint on Route 5, where the pipe bombs were discovered.. (photo credit:DEFENSE MINISTRY)

Eyes wide closed at the checkpoints.

Jerusalem Post, by Charles Jacobs, Feb. 4, 2017:

Major Jewish establishment organizations are strenuously lobbying for the resettlement of Syrian refugees on American soil. It’s explained as a natural extension of Jewish values and history – “we, too, were refugees once. We, too, were the ‘other.’” The comparison is, to say the least, abstract.

It ignores vast differences between European Jewish populations fleeing a Nazism intent on killing them anywhere in the world, and Syrian refugees who are not defamed as “subhuman” nor hunted by a murderous ideology, and who have in Europe – and should have throughout the Arab/Muslim world – plenty of open doors. But this flawed analogy is a mere quibble compared to other differences that make the wholesale importation of Syrian Muslims dangerous not only to Jews but to all Americans.

Groups working to resettle Syrian refugees in the US, like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), typically respond to fears about a mass migration of people who might be hostile to American values by focusing narrowly on “terrorism” – and specifically to the fear that jihadists could hide among the innocent civilians. HIAS, federal agencies and other groups supporting Syrian immigration report that Syrian refugees are subject to intense scrutiny, more extensive vetting than any other migrant population. HIAS president and CEO Mark Hatfield said, “Refugees coming to the US are subject to more vetting and screening than any other non-citizen arriving in America, subject to multiple layers of screening and review.”

But there is a vast hole in the vetting process: nobody cares to consider, much less discuss, the cultural attitudes and religious beliefs that – apart from actual violence – can be harmful to America, specifically attitudes about Judaism, Christians, adherents of non-Islamic faiths, democracy, women, homosexuality and so on.

Of course we want to know if a Syrian refugee has had ties to terrorist group. But we also need to know what he has been taught in his homeland about us non-Muslims and our values – equality, freedom of religion and speech.

A set of studies of Syrian textbooks reveals disturbing realities, now relevant to an America which would host the products of Syria’ educational system. Nationalized by the Ba’athist party in 1967, the Syrian curriculum was the product of a joint initiative between Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Spanning 1st through 12th grades, the curriculum presented to Syrian schoolchildren follows a rigidly Sunni Muslim interpretation of both civic and religious identity – basically presenting Syrian identity as inseparable from membership within both the larger Arab and Islamic Ummas (i.e. “peoples”). This approach was adopted as a matter of political necessity for the ruling Ba’ath leadership (currently represented by the Assad regime), a Shi’ite minority ruling a Sunni-majority population. All Syrian citizens have been compelled to send their children to primary schools in which this Sunni worldview and Syrian national identification is the central theme.

The studies show that Syrian students are presented a consistently defamatory model of Jews, Judaism, democracy and the West. Syrian schoolchildren learn that although Judaism was the initial vessel for Allah’s revelation, it was quickly superseded by Christianity, which was superseded by Islam – the ultimate revelation. Thus, the continued adherence of Jews to an outdated and incomplete belief system (Judaism) classifies them as intrinsically depraved, having rejected Allah’s Divine Truth, and consigns them to “elimination” in this life, and “hell” in the next. The worldview constructed for Syrian pupils, since at least the 1980s, consistently teaches that Jews are directly and solely responsible for antisemitism and the Holocaust, that the modern State of Israel is an illegitimate occupation of Arab lands.

The simplicity and consistency of this worldview, the offering of “historical” examples as an empirical demonstration of Jewish malfeasance, whether as parasites within foreign lands, both East and West, or as ruthless colonizers displacing and persecuting the indigenous Muslim inhabitants of Palestine, results in one clear message.

As an 11th grade Syrian textbooks states: “The Jews spare no effort in deceiving us, being hostile towards us, denying our noble Prophet, inciting against us and distorting the Divine Books… collaborat(ing) with pagans and atheists against the Muslims because they see that Islam unveils their cunning ways and evil nature… (t) herefore, the logic of genuine justice decrees against them one verdict the carrying out of which is unavoidable. Their criminal intention should be turned against them by way of their elimination [isti’sal].” (Quoted in Islamic Education in Syria: Undoing Secularism.) But what exactly does this “elimination” entail? Examination of the textbooks makes this clear: the waging of jihad (“Holy War” or “struggle”) against both the Zionist occupiers of Palestine and, more broadly, anyone who poses a threat to Islam.

What should be even more alarming is the evidence within these textbooks which suggests that jihad, as a requirement, is not limited to one geographical area, one territorial dispute, or a single socio-political “enemy.” Thus, while the textbooks examined stress the necessity of jihad against Israel and the Jews, these mandates also, at the very least, strongly imply the necessity of jihad as a divinely commanded duty of all Muslims against all enemies, regardless of location or political persuasion. As one passage in an 8th grade textbook directly states: “Jihad today is an individual duty of every Muslim….”

Virtually each and every potential Syrian immigrant has been a participant in an educational framework which presents Jews as morally corrupt, pits all Muslims everywhere against non-Muslims anywhere, and mandates violence against apostates as a religious duty. Who is vetting for this?

The author is president of Americans for Peace in Tolerance, Boston.

The lessons of Roosevelt’s failures

donald-trump1What Trump has learned that his opponents haven’t.

Front Page Magazine, by Caroline Glick, February 1, 2017:

Is US President Donald Trump the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Does his immigration policy mimic Roosevelt’s by adopting a callous, bigoted position on would-be asylum seekers from the Muslim world? At a press conference on June 5, 1940, Roosevelt gave an unspeakably cynical justification for his administration’s refusal to permit the desperate Jews of Nazi Germany to enter the US.

In Roosevelt’s words, “Among the refugees [from Germany], there are some spies… And not all of them are voluntary spies – it is rather a horrible story but in some of the other countries that refugees out of Germany have gone to, especially Jewish refugees, they found a number of definitely proven spies.”

The current media and left-wing uproar over the executive order US President Donald Trump signed on Saturday which enacts a temporary ban on entry to the US of nationals from seven Muslim majority countries is extraordinary on many levels. But one that stands out is the fact that opponents of Trump’s move insist that Trump is reenacting the bigoted immigration policies the US maintained throughout the Holocaust.

The first thing that is important to understand about Trump’s order is that it did not come out of nowhere. It is based on the policies of his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump’s move is an attempt to correct the strategic and moral deficiencies of Obama’s policies – deficiencies that empower bigots and fascists while disenfranchising and imperiling their victims.

Trump’s order is based on the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. As White House spokesman Sean Spicer noted in an interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz Sunday, the seven states targeted by Trump’s temporary ban – Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – were not chosen by Trump.

They were identified as uniquely problematic and in need of specific, harsher vetting policies for refugee applications by former US president Barack Obama.

In Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, the recognized governments lack control over large swaths of territory.

As a consequence, they are unable to conclude immigration vetting protocols with the US. As others have noted, unlike these governments, Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian officials have concluded and implement severe and detailed visa vetting protocols with US immigration officials.

Immigrants from Somalia have carried out terrorist attacks in the US. Clearly there is a problem with vetting procedures in relation to that jihad-plagued failed state.

Finally, the regimes in Sudan and Iran are state sponsors of terrorism. As such, the regimes clearly cannot be trusted to properly report the status of visa applicants.

In other words, the one thing that the seven states have in common is that the US has no official counterpart in any of them as it seeks to vet nationals from those states seeking to enter its territory. So the US must adopt specific, unilateral vetting policies for each of them.

Now that we know the reason the Obama administration concluded that visa applicants from these seven states require specific vetting, we arrive at the question of whether Trump’s order will improve the outcome of that vetting from both a strategic and moral perspective.

The new executive order requires the relevant federal agencies and departments to review the current immigration practices in order to ensure two things.

First, that immigrants from these and other states are not enemies of the US. And second, to ensure that those that do enter the US are people who need protection.

Trump’s order requires the secretary of state and the secretary of homeland security to ensure that the new vetting processes “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority in the individual’s country of nationality.”

Under the Obama administration, the opposite occurred. Christians and Yazidis in Syria for instance, have been targeted specifically for annihilation by Islamic State and related groups. And yet, they have made up a tiny minority of visa recipients. According to Christian News Service, during 2016, the number of refugees from Syria to the US increased by 675%. But among the 13,210 Syrian refugees admitted to the US, only 77, or 0.5% were Christians and only 24, or 0.18%, were Yazidis.

Similar percentages held in previous years.

On the second issue, of blocking potential terrorists from entering the US, Trump’s order calls for measures to be taken to ensure that those who ascribe to creeds that would endanger the lives of US citizens are barred from entering.

Specifically, the order states, “The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

Whether or not the Obama administration’s failure to give top priority to Christian and Yazidi refugees being targeted for genocide, enslavement and rape was driven by political considerations, the fact is that the current US refugee system makes it all but impossible for US officials to give priority to vulnerable minorities.

As Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom pointed out in an article in National Review in November 2015, the US has relied on the UN High Commissioner on Refugees to vet potential immigrants from these countries. The UNHCR accepts applications for resettlement primarily from people who reside in its refugee camps. Members of the Christian and Yazidi avoid UN camps because UN officials do not protect them.

As Shea noted, human rights groups and media reports have shown that at UN camps, “ISIS, militias and gangs traffic in women and threaten men who refuse to swear allegiance to the caliphate.”

The situation repeats itself in European refugee centers. Shea noted that in Germany, for instance, due to Muslim persecution of non-Muslim refugees at refugee centers, “the German police union recommended separate shelters for Christian and Muslim groups.”

The UNHCR itself has not been an innocent bystander in all of this. To the contrary. It appears that the institution colludes with jihadists to keep persecuted Christians and other minorities out of the UN refugee system, thus dooming them to remain in areas were they are subjected to forms of persecution unseen since the Holocaust.

Questioned by Shea, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said that he opposes the resettlement of persecuted Christians from Syria. Despite the fact that in 2011 Pope Francis acknowledged that Syrian Christians were being targeted for genocide, Guterres told Shea that he doesn’t want Christians to leave Syria, because they are part of the “DNA of the Middle East.” He added that Lebanon’s former president asked him not to resettle the Christians.

Invoking the Holocaust, in recent days US Jews have been among the most outspoken critics of Trump’s executive order. Speaking to Britain’s Independent, for instance, Mark Hetfield, the executive director of HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, slammed Trump’s executive order as the “lowest point we’ve seen since the 1920s.”

Forward editor Jane Eisner wrote that Trump’s move is immoral and un-American and that all Jewish organizations are morally required to stand up to his “anti-Muslim” policies.

Writing at Vox.com, Dara Lind drew a direct connection between Trump’s executive order and the Roosevelt administration’s refusal to permit the Jews of Europe to flee to the US to escape annihilation in the Holocaust.

This then brings us back to Roosevelt’s immoral policies toward the Jews of Europe and to the question of who has learned the lessons of his bigotry.

The American Jewish uproar at Trump’s actions shows first and foremost the cynicism of the leftist Jewish leadership.

It isn’t simply that left-wing activists like Hetfield and Eisner cynically ignore that Trump’s order is based on Obama’s policies, which they didn’t oppose.

It is that in their expressed concerned for would-be Muslim refugees to the US they refuse to recognize that the plight of Muslims as Muslims in places like Syria and Iraq is not the same as the plight of Christians and Yazidis as Christians and Yazidis in these lands.

The “Jews” in the present circumstances are not the Muslims, who are nowhere targeted for genocide.

The “Jews” in the present circumstances are the Christians and Yazidis and other religious minorities, whom Trump’s impassioned Jewish opponents and Obama’s impassioned Jewish champions fail to defend.

Trump’s executive order is far from perfect. But in making the distinction between the hunters and the hunted and siding with the latter against the former, Trump is showing that he is not a bigot.

Unlike his critics, he has learned the lessons of Roosevelt’s moral failure and is working to ensure that the US acts differently today.

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting

MEF, by Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2017

On January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to implement his proposed “extreme vetting” of those applying for entry visas into the United States. This article by Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes, who has written extensively on the practicality and enforceability of screening for Islamists, is an advance release from the forthcoming Spring 2017 issue of Middle East Quarterly.

smoking-them-outDonald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 establishing radically new procedures to deal with foreigners who apply to enter the United States.

Building on his earlier notion of “extreme vetting,” the order explains that

to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

This passage raises several questions of translating extreme vetting in practice: How does one distinguish foreigners who “do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles” from those who do? How do government officials figure out “those who would place violent ideologies over American law”? More specifically, given that the new procedures almost exclusively concern the fear of allowing more Islamists into the country, how does one identify them?

I shall argue these are doable tasks and the executive order provides the basis to achieve them. At the same time, they are expensive and time-consuming, demanding great skill. Keeping out Islamists can be done, but not easily.

The Challenge

By Islamists (as opposed to moderate Muslims), I mean those approximately 10-15 percent of Muslims who seek to apply Islamic law (the Shari’a) in its entirety. They want to implement a medieval code that calls (among much else) for restricting women, subjugating non-Muslims, violent jihad, and establishing a caliphate to rule the world.

For many non-Muslims, the rise of Islamism over the past forty years has made Islam synonymous with extremism, turmoil, aggression, and violence. But Islamists, not all Muslims, are the problem; they, not all Muslims, must urgently be excluded from the United States and other Western countries. Not just that, but anti-Islamist Muslims are the key to ending the Islamist surge, as they alone can offer a humane and modern alternative to Islamist obscurantism.

Identifying Islamists is no easy matter, however, as no simple litmus test exists. Clothing can be misleading, as some women wearing hijabs are anti-Islamists, while practicing Muslims can be Zionists; nor does one’s occupation indicate much, as some high-tech engineers are violent Islamists. Likewise, beards, teetotalism, five-times-a-day prayers, and polygyny do not tell about a Muslim’s political outlook. To make matters more confusing, Islamists often dissimulate and pretend to be moderates, while some believers change their views over time.

awlaki2Finally, shades of gray further confuse the issue. As noted by Robert Satloff of The Washington Institute, a 2007 book from the Gallup press, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, based on a poll of over 50,000 Muslims in 10 countries, found that 7 percent of Muslims deem the 9/11 attacks “completely justified,” 13.5 percent consider the attacks completely or “largely justified,” and 36.6 percent consider the attacks completely, largely, or “somewhat justified.” Which of these groups does one define as Islamist and which not?

Faced with these intellectual challenges, American bureaucrats are unsurprisingly incompetent, as I demonstrate in a long blog titled “The U.S. Government’s Poor Record on Islamists.” Islamists have fooled the White House, the departments of Defense, Justice, State, and Treasury, the Congress, many law enforcement agencies and a plethora of municipalities. A few examples:

  • The Pentagon in 2001 invited Anwar al-Awlaki, the American Islamist it later executed with a drone-launched missile, to lunch.
  • In 2002, FBI spokesman Bill Carter described the American Muslim Council (AMC) as “the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States” – just two years before the bureau arrested the AMC’s founder and head, Abdurahman Alamoudi, on terrorism-related charges. Alamoudi has now served about half his 23-year prison sentence.
  • George W. Bush appointed stealth Islamist Khaled Abou El Fadl in 2003 to, of all things, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
  • The White House included staff in 2015 from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in its consultations, despite CAIR’s initial funding by a designated terrorist group, the frequent arrest or deportation of its employees on terrorism charges, a history of deception, and the goal of one of its leaders to make Islam the only accepted religion in America.

Fake-moderates have fooled even me, despite all the attention I devote to this topic. In 2000, I praised a book by Tariq Ramadan; four years later, I argued for his exclusion from the United States. In 2003, I condemned a Republican operative named Kamal Nawash; two years later, I endorsed him. Did they evolve or did my understanding of them change? More than a decade later, I am still unsure.

Uniform Screening Standards

Returning to immigration, this state of confusion points to the need for learning much more about would-be visitors and immigrants. Fortunately, Trump’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” signed on Jan. 27, 2017, requires just this. It calls for “Uniform Screening Standards” with the goal of preventing individuals from entering the United States “on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission.” The order requires that the uniform screening standard and procedure include such elements as (bolding is mine):

  1. In-person interviews;
  2. A database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants;
  3. Amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent;
  4. A mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be;
  5. A process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and
  6. A mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.

Elements 1, 3, 5, and 6 permit and demand the procedure outlined in the following analysis. It contains two main components, in-depth research and intensive interviews.

Research

When a person applies for a security clearance, the background checks should involve finding out about his family, friends, associations, employment, memberships, and activities. Agents must probe these for questionable statements, relationships, and actions, as well as anomalies and gaps. When they find something dubious, they must look further into it, always with an eye for trouble. Is access to government secrets more important than access to the country? The immigration process should start with an inquiry into the prospective immigrant and, just as with security clearances, the border services should look for problems.

Most everyone with strong views at some point vents them on social media.

Most everyone with strong views at some point vents them on social media.

Also, as with security clearance, this process should have a political dimension: Does the person in question have an outlook consistent with that of the Constitution? Not long ago, only public figures such as intellectuals, activists, and religious figures put their views on the record; but now, thanks to the Internet and its open invitation to everyone to comment in writing or on video in a permanent, public manner, and especially to social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), most everyone with strong views at some point vents them. Such data provides valuably unfiltered views on many critical topics, such as Islam, non-Muslims, women, and violence as a tactic. (Exploiting this resource may seem self-evident but U.S. immigration authorities do not do so, thereby imposing a self-restraint roughly equivalent to the Belgian police choosing not to conduct raids between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.)

In the case of virulent, overt, outspoken jihadis, this research usually suffices to provide evidence to exclude them. Even some non-violent Islamists proudly announce their immoderation. But many Islamists adopt a milder and subtler tone, their goal being to appear moderate so they can enter the country and then impose Shari’a through lawful means. As suggested by some of the examples above, such as Abou El Fadl or CAIR, research often proves inadequate in these instances because cautious Islamists hide their goals and glibly dissimulate. Which brings us to entrance interviews.

Entrance Interviews

Assuming that lawful Islamists routinely hide their true views, an interview is needed before letting them enter the country. Of course, it is voluntary, for no one is forced to apply for immigration, but it also must be very thorough. It should be:

Recorded: With the explicit permission of the person being questioned (“You understand and accept that this interview is being recorded, right?”), the exchange should be visibly videotaped so the proceedings are unambiguously on the record. This makes available the interviewee’s words, tone, speech patterns, facial expressions, and body language for further study. Form as well as substance matters: does the interviewee smile, fidget, blink, make eye contact, repeat, sweat, tremble, tire, need frequent toilet breaks, or otherwise express himself in non-verbal ways?

Under oath: Knowing that falsehoods will be punished, possibly with jail time, is a strong inducement to come clean.Polygraph: Even if a lie detector machine does not, in fact, provide useful information, attaching the interviewee to it might induce greater truth-telling.

Public: If the candidate knows that his answers to abstract questions (as opposed to personal ones about his life) will be made public, this reduces the chances of deception. For example, asked about belief for the full application of Islamic laws, an Islamist will be less likely to answer falsely in the negative if he knows that his reply will be available for others to watch.

questionsMultiple: No single question can evince a reply that establishes an Islamist disposition; effective interviewing requires a battery of queries on many topics, from homosexuality to the caliphate. The answers need to be assessed in their totality.

Specific: Vague inquiries along the lines of “Is Islam a religion of peace?”, “Do you condemn terrorism?” “How do you respond to the murder of innocents,” depend too much on one’s definition of words such as peace, terrorism, and innocents to help determine a person’s outlook, and so should be avoided. Instead, questions must be focused and exact: “May Muslims convert out of Islam, whether to join another faith or to become atheists?” “Does a Muslim have the right to renounce Islam?”

Variety in phrasing: For the questions to ferret out the truth means looking for divergence and inconsistency by asking the same question with different words and variant emphases. A sampling: “May a woman show her face in public?” “What punishment do you favor for females who reveal their faces to men not related to them by family?” “Is it the responsibility of the male guardian to make sure his women-folk do not leave the house with faces uncovered?” “Should the government insist on women covering their faces?” “Is society better ordered when women cover their faces?” Any one of the questions can be asked in different ways and expanded with follows-up about the respondent’s line of reasoning or depth of feeling.

Repeated: Questions should be asked again and again over a period of weeks, months, and even longer. This is crucial: lies being much more difficult to remember than truths, the chances of a respondent changing his answers increases with both the volume of questions asked and the time lapse between questionings. Once inconsistencies occur, the questioner can zero in and explore their nature, extent, and import.

The Questions

Guidelines in place, what specific questions might extract useful information?

Zuhdi Jasser (L) with the author as teammates at a 2012 Intelligence Squared debate in New York City.

Zuhdi Jasser (L) with the author as teammates at a 2012 Intelligence Squared debate in New York City.

The following questions, offered as suggestions to build on, are those of this author but also derive from a number of analysts devoting years of thinking to the topic. Naser Khader, the-then Danish parliamentarian of Syrian Muslim origins, offered an early set of questions in 2002. A year later, this author published a list covering seven subject areas.

Others followed, including the liberal Egyptian Muslim Tarek Heggy, the liberal American Muslims Tashbih Sayyed and Zuhdi Jasser, the ex-Muslim who goes by “Sam Solomon,” a RAND Corporation group, and the analyst Robert Spencer. Of special interest are the queries posed by the German state of Baden-Württemberg dated September 2005 because it is an official document (intended for citizenship, not immigration, but with similar purposes).

Islamic doctrine:

1. May Muslims reinterpret the Koran in light of changes in modern times?

2. May Muslims convert out of Islam, either to join another faith or to be without religion?

3. May banks charge reasonable interest (say 3 percent over inflation) on money?

4. Is taqiya (dissimulation in the name of Islam) legitimate?

Islamic pluralism:

5. May Muslims pick and choose which Islamic regulations to abide by (e.g., drink alcohol but avoid pork)?

6. Is takfir (declaring a Muslim to be an infidel) acceptable?

7. [Asked of Sunnis only:] Are Sufis, Ibadis, and Shi’ites Muslims?

8. Are Muslims who disagree with your practice of Islam infidels (kuffar)?

The state and Islam:

9. What do you think of disestablishing religion, that is, separating mosque and state?

10. When Islamic customs conflict with secular laws (e.g., covering the face for female drivers’ license pictures), which gets priority?

11. Should the state compel prayer?

12. Should the state ban food consumption during Ramadan and penalize transgressors?

13. Should the state punish Muslims who eat pork, drink alcohol, and gamble?

14. Should the state punish adultery?

15. How about homosexuality?

16. Do you favor a mutawwa’ (religious police) as exist in Saudi Arabia?

17. Should the state enforce the criminal punishments of the Shari’a?

18. Should the state be lenient when someone is killed for the sake of family honor?

19. Should governments forbid Muslims from leaving Islam?

Marriage and divorce:

20. Does a husband have the right to hit his wife if she is disobedient?

21. Is it a good idea for men to shut their wives and daughters at home?

22. Do parents have the right to determine whom their children marry?

23. How would you react if a daughter married a non-Muslim man?

24. Is polygyny acceptable?

25. Should a husband have to get a first wife’s approval to marry a second wife? A third? A fourth?

26. Should a wife have equal rights with her husband to initiate a divorce?

27. In the case of divorce, does a wife have rights to child custody?

Female rights:

28. Should Muslim women have equal rights with men (for example, in inheritance shares or court testimony)?

29. Does a woman have the right to dress as she pleases, including showing her hair, arms and legs, so long as her genitalia and breasts are covered?

30. May Muslim women come and go or travel as they please?

31. Do Muslim women have a right to work outside the home or must the wali approve of this??

32. May Muslim women marry non-Muslim men?

33. Should males and females be separated in schools, at work, and socially?

34. Should certain professions be reserved for men or women only? If so, which ones?

35. Do you accept women occupying high governmental offices?

36. In an emergency, would you let yourself be treated by or operated on by a doctor of the opposite gender?

Sexual activity:

37. Does a husband have the right to force his wife to have sex?

38. Is female circumcision part of the Islamic religion?

39. Is stoning a justified punishment for adultery?

40. Do members of a family have the right to kill a woman if they believe she has dishonored them?

41. How would you respond to a child of yours who declares him- or herself a homosexual?

Schools:

42. Should your child learn the history of non-Muslims?

43. Should students be taught that Shari’a is a personal code or that governmental law must be based on it?

44. May your daughter take part in the sports activities, especially swimming lessons, offered by her school?

45. Would you permit your child to take part in school trips, including overnight ones?

46. What would you do if a daughter insisted on going to university?

Criticism of Muslims:

47. Did Islam spread only through peaceful means?

48. Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam, even if it casts doubt on the received history?

49. Do you accept that Muslims were responsible for the 9/11 attacks?

50. Is the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh Islamic in nature?

Denying the Islamic nature of ISIS reveals much about a Muslim

Denying the Islamic nature of ISIS reveals much about a Muslim

Fighting Islamism:

51. Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight Islamism, even if this might mean extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security)?

52. When institutions credibly accused of funding jihad are shut down, is this a symptom of anti-Muslim bias?

53. Should Muslims living in the West cooperate with law enforcement?

54. Should they join the military?

55. Is the “war on terror” a war on Islam?

Non-Muslims (in general):

56. Do all humans, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs, deserve equal rights?

57. Should non-Muslims enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims?

58. Do you accept the validity of other monotheistic religions?

59. Of polytheistic religions (such as Hinduism)?

60. Are Muslims superior to non-Muslims?

61. Should non-Muslims be subject to Islamic law?

62. Do Muslims have anything to learn from non-Muslims?

63. Can non-Muslims go to paradise?

64. Do you welcome non-Muslims to your house and go to their residences?

Praying at the Hindu Temple in Dubai, founded 1958.

Praying at the Hindu Temple in Dubai, founded 1958.

Non-Muslims (in Dar al-Islam):

65. May Muslims compel “Peoples of the Book” (i.e., Jews and Christians) to pay extra taxes?

66. May other monotheists build and operate institutions of their faith in Muslim-majority countries?

67. How about polytheists?

68. Should the Saudi government maintain the historic ban on non-Muslims in Mecca and Medina?

69. Should it allow churches to be built for Christian expatriates?

70. Should it stop requiring that all its subjects be Muslim?

Non-Muslims (in Dar al-Harb):

71. Should Muslims fight Jews and Christians until these “feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29).

72. Is the enslavement of non-Muslims acceptable?

73. Is it acceptable to arrest individuals who curse the prophet of Islam or burn the Koran?

74. If the state does not act against such deeds, may individual Muslims act?

75. Can one live a fully Muslim life in a country with a mostly non-Muslim government?

76. Should a Muslim accept a legitimate majority non-Muslim government and its laws or work to make Islam supreme?

77. Can a majority non-Muslim government unreservedly win your allegiance?

78. Should Muslims who burn churches or vandalize synagogues be punished?

79. Do you support jihad to spread Islam?

Violence:

80. Do you endorse corporal punishments (mutilation, dismemberment, crucifixion) of criminals?

81. Is beheading an acceptable form of punishment?

82. Is jihad, meaning warfare to expand Muslim rule, acceptable in today’s world?

83. What does it mean when Muslims yell “Allahu Akbar” as they attack?

84. Do you condemn violent organizations such as Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Shabaab, and the Taliban?

Western countries:

85. Are non-Islamic institutions immoral and decadent or can they be moral and virtuous?

86. Do you agree with studies that show non-Muslim countries such as New Zealand to be better living up to the ideals of Islam than Muslim-majority countries?

87. Is Western-style freedom an accomplishment or a form of moral corruption? Why?

88. Do you accept that Western countries are majority-Christian or do you seek to transform them into majority-Muslim countries?

89. Do you accept living in Western countries that are secular or do you seek to have Islamic law rule them?

90. What do you think of Shari’a-police patrolling Muslim-majority neighborhoods in Western countries to enforce Islamic morals?

91. Would you like to see the U.S. Constitution (or its equivalents in other countries) replaced by the Koran?

This interview:

92. In an immigration interview like this, if deceiving the questioner helps Islam, would lying be justified?

93. Why should I trust that you have answered these questions truthfully?

Observations about the Interviews

Beyond helping to decide whom to allow into the country, these questions can also help in other contexts as well, for example in police interrogations or interviews for sensitive employment positions. (The list of Islamists who have penetrated Western security services is a long and painful one.)

Islamists are hardly the only ones who condemn Israel. Here Jewish Voice for Peace activists protest.

Islamists are hardly the only ones who condemn Israel. Here Jewish Voice for Peace activists protest.

Note the absence of questions about highly charged current issues. That is because Islamist views overlap with non-Islamist outlooks; plenty of non-Islamists agree with Islamists on these topics. Although Leil Leibowitz in contrast sees Israel as “moderate Islam’s real litmus test,” Islamists are hardly the only ones who demand Israel’s elimination and accept Hamas and Hezbollah as legitimate political actors – or believe the Bush administration carried out the 9/11 attacks or hate the United States. Why introduce these ambiguous issues when so many Islam-specific questions (e.g., “Is the enslavement of non-Muslim acceptable?”) have the virtue of far greater clarity?

The interviewing protocol outlined above is extensive, asking many specific questions over a substantial period using different formulations, probing for truth and inconsistencies. It is not quick, easy, or cheap, but requires case officers knowledgeable about the persons being interviewed, the societies they come from, and the Islamic religion; they are somewhat like a police questioner who knows both the accused person and the crime. This is not a casual process. There are no shortcuts.

Criticisms

This procedure raises two criticisms: it is less reliable than Trump’s no-Muslim policy and it is too burdensome for governments to undertake. Both are readily disposed of.

Less reliable: The no-Muslim policy sounds simple to implement but figuring out who is Muslim is a problem in itself (are Ahmadis Muslims?). Further, with such a policy in place, what will stop Muslims from pretending to renounce their religion or to convert to another religion, notably Christianity? These actions would require the same in-depth research and intensive interviews as described above. If anything, because a convert can hide behind his ignorance of his alleged new religion, distinguishing a real convert to Christianity from a fake one is even more difficult than differentiating an Islamist from a moderate Muslim.

Too burdensome: True, the procedure is expensive, slow, and requires skilled practitioners. But this also has the benefit of slowing a process that many, myself included, consider out of control, with too many immigrants entering the country too quickly. Immigrants numbered 5 percent of the population in 1965, 14 percent in 2015, and are projected to make up 18 percent in 2065. This is far too large a number to assimilate into the values of the United States, especially when so many come from outside the West; the above mechanism offers a way to slow it down.
Finally, today’s moderate Muslim could become tomorrow’s raging Islamist; or his infant daughter might two decades later become a jihadi. While any immigrant can turn hostile, such changes happen far more often among born Muslims. There is no way to guarantee this from happening but extensive research and interrogations reduce the odds.As for those who argue that this sort of inquiry and screening for visa purposes is unlawful; prior legislation for naturalization, for example, required that an applicant be “attached to the principles of the Constitution” and it was repeatedly found to be legal.

Conclusion

Truly to protect the country from Islamists requires a major commitment of talent, resources, and time. But, properly handled, these questions offer a mechanism to separate enemy from friend among Muslims. They also have the benefit of slowing down immigration. Even before Trump became president, if one is to believe CAIR, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) asked questions along the lines of those advocated here (What do you think of the USA? What are your views about jihad? See the appendix for a full listing). With Trump’s endorsement, let us hope this effective “no-Islamists” policy is on its way to becoming systematic.


Appendix

On January 18, 2017, just hours before Donald Trump became president of the United States, the Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed ten complaints with the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) for questioning Muslim citizens about their religious and political views. Among the questions allegedly asked were:

1. Are you a devout Muslim?

2. Are you Sunni or Shia?

3. What school of thought do you follow?

4. Which Muslim scholars do you follow?

5. What current Muslim scholars do you listen to?

6. Do you pray five times a day?

7. Why do you have a prayer mat in your luggage?

8. Why do you have a Qur’an in your luggage?

9. Have you visited Saudi Arabia?

10. Will you every visit Saudi or Israel?

11. What do you know about the Tableeghi-Jamat?

12. What do you think of the USA?

13. What are your views about Jihad?

14. What mosque do you attend?

15. Do any individuals in your mosque have any extreme/radical views?

16. Does your Imam express extremist views?

17. What are the views of other imams or other community members that give the Friday sermon at your mosque?

18. Do they have extremist views?

19. Have you ever delivered the Friday Prayer? What did you discuss with your community?

20. What are your views regarding [various terrorist organizations]?

21. What social media accounts do you use?

22. What is your Facebook account username?

23. What is your Twitter account username?

24. What is your Instagram account username?

25. What are the names and telephone numbers of parents, relatives, friends?

CAIR also claims a Canadian Muslim was asked by CBP the following questions and then denied entry:

1. Are you Sunni or Shia?

2. Do you think we should allow someone like you to enter our country?

3. How often do you pray?

4. Why did you shave your beard?

5. Which school of thought do you follow?

6. What do you think of America’s foreign policy towards the Muslim world?

7. What do you think of killing non-Muslims?

8. What do you think of [various terrorist groups]?

Finally, CAIR indicates that those questioned “were held between 2 to 8 hours by CBP.”

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. This analysis derives from a chapter in Conceptualizing Moderate Islam, ed. Richard Benkin (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2017).

3 Questions to Keep Muslim Terrorists Out of America

3_easy_questions_to_ask_muslim_terrorists_4_fpm

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, January 27, 2017:

The Nonimmigrant Visa application form filled out by the 9/11 hijackers asked, “Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?”

They checked the box that said, ‘No’ and they were in.

The current incarnation of the form asks the same perfunctory and generic question. An actual terrorist is as likely to check the box as he is to finger a rosary while eating a ham sandwich and singing Hava Nagila. But since 9/11, the terrorist threat has evolved from foreign cells penetrating this country to domestic Islamist terrorists emerging out of Muslim settlements already occupying this country.

Most Islamic terrorists that the FBI has been dealing with had no specific terror plans at the time that they entered this country. Some Islamic terrorists, like the Tsarnaev perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing, came here as children. Others, like Omar Mateen, the Pulse shooter, and Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood killer, contrived to be born in this country to foreign parents.

Immigration screening has to do more than just ask terrorists to check a box if they plan to fly planes into our skyscrapers. We must identify visitors and immigrants who are at a high risk of becoming terrorists in the first or second generation. The only way to do this is with a holistic strategy that examines the worldview of new immigrants and the Islamic communities they intend to be part of.

Instead of checking a perfunctory box, it is important to interrogate how a Muslim applicant views his religion and its interaction with the rest of the world. And to examine the mosque he plans to attend.

For example, attendees at the infamous Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia included Nidal Hasan, its former Imam was Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki, and a number of key figures associated with the mosque were linked to Islamic terrorism. Any Muslim immigrants planning to attend the mosque could be considered at high risk for engaging in terrorism regardless of their stated views.

Our current screening methods are laughably crude.

The immigrant visa form asks about engaging in and funding terrorism. It does not however specify what a terrorist group is. Muslims define terrorism differently and do not consider many of the Islamic terror groups listed on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list to be terrorists.

It asks about membership in the “Communist or other totalitarian party” and participation in various Columbian terrorist and militant organizations.  Despite the thousands of people killed by Islamic terrorists in this country in the last few decades, it fails to ask anything about specific Islamist groups.

That should change.

Despite all the assurances about vetting, the forms don’t even bother to ask about membership in Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas or their parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is to Islamic terrorism what the Communist party was to subversive and terrorist groups during the Cold War.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a totalitarian organization. Its motto is, “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” This credo reflects the objective of a theocratic Islamic State to be achieved through any means: including violence. Its members have perpetrated and aided Islamic terrorism here and around the world. These include Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and the Brotherhood perpetrators of the genocide in Sudan.

Any Muslim immigrant who had ties to the Brotherhood has falsely answered the question and should be deported.  If he falsely answered this question on his naturalization application, he should be subject to denaturalization and deported. Any Muslim who has subsequently become involved with Muslim Brotherhood front groups such as CAIR, ISNA, the MSA and countless others, should be investigated for pre-existing links with the terror network and prevented from becoming a citizen of this country.

Communities where Muslim immigrants propose to settle should be tested for their extremism levels as defined by the preponderance of Muslim Brotherhood institutions. Muslim immigrants who seek out communities under the influence of Brotherhood institutions should be considered at a higher risk of engaging in terrorism either in the first or second generation without regard for their current views.

Our goal is not just to stop terror plots now. Our goal must be to stop terrorism a decade from now.

Our counterterrorism is reactive instead of proactive. Reactive counterterrorism is measured by the time we have to react. When a terrorist opens fire in a shopping mall, reaction time is measured in minutes or seconds. His original descent into Islamic terror plots may go on for months or years. But the closer we get to the source of the problem, the more lead time we have until we are no longer reactive, but proactive. Instead of rushing to stop the next attack, we can transform the entire battlefield.

That must be our objective.

Our biggest problem is that we aren’t asking the right questions. Asking a Muslim if he is a terrorist is the wrong question. Islamic terrorists don’t see themselves as terrorists. They view themselves as devout Muslims. That is how we must see them if we are to find them out and stop them before they strike.

The root cause of Islamic terrorism is the idea that Muslims are superior and non-Muslims are inferior. Exposing this conviction won’t be done with a terrorism check box. Many Muslims who go on to commit acts of terror in the name of Islamic Supremacism have no such plans when they enter the country. They do however believe that there is a primal struggle between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is this belief that they eventually put into practice at some later date by actually engaging in Islamist violence.

Instead of asking them whether they are terrorists, we ought to ask them how they view their participation in American life in light of the Koranic verse that commands Muslims, “O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends. ”And whether they are willing to disavow the message of such terrorist verses of the Koran as, “Do not take friends from them unless they migrate in the Way of Allah. But if they turn away (from Islam), seize them and kill them wherever you find them.”

If they are not willing to disavow calls for the murder of non-Muslims, such as, “I will cast terror into the hearts of non-believers. Therefore strike off their heads”, they present a serious terrorism risk.

Can we really afford to allow Muslim immigrants into the United States who believe that they ought to “fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion will all be for Allah”? What better predictor of terror risk could there be than those who believe that they must “kill the non-believers wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them?” This is the origin of Islamic terrorism. It’s the acid test for every Muslim migrant.

It all comes down to three simple questions.

  1. Have you ever had any associations with the Muslim Brotherhood or any of its front groups?
  2. Will you commit to avoiding associations with Brotherhood mosques and other entities in this country? Are you aware that you may be deported if you do not?
  3. Do you disavow the following verses of the Koran calling for violence against non-Muslims?

Such simple questions are far more relevant than a terrorism check box because they address what terrorists actually believe, not what we believe about them. They will not stop an active terrorist, but asking them will help keep out the terrorists of tomorrow.

Muslim immigrants coming to America must make a choice. As must we. Both Muslims and non-Muslims must come to grips with the violence inherent in Islam if we are to break the cycle of Islamic terrorism.

The 3 flaws in Rep. McCaul’s plan to secure the homeland

Carolina K. Smith MD | Shutterstock

Carolina K. Smith MD | Shutterstock

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz and Nate Madden, Sept. 21, 2016:

It’s impossible to craft a solution to a security threat when policy-makers refuse to identify the nature of the threat, its source, and its threat doctrine. Given that Democrats refuse to even recognize any correlation between any form of Islam and Jihad, their policies reflect a perfectly consistent and unvarnished willful blindness of the modern jihadist threat. In releasing the House GOP’s plan to combat Islamic terror, however, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas. (F, 58%) exhibits the same systemic misdiagnosis of the problem, albeit one that is a step or two closer to the truth than the Democrats.

Yesterday, Chairman McCaul unveiled “A National Strategy to Win the War against Islamist Terror.” While the plan at least references Islamic terror as the key threat and very broadly and generally outlines worthy end-goals, the overarching outline has two fatal flaws.

  • It still refuses to name names when it comes to specific threats and;
  • The overall policy objectives, strategies, and suggestions, are overly general, almost vacuous, and obfuscate the true common sense path forward screaming out for much-needed attention from our political leaders.

This all stems from McCaul’s refusal to identify the specific threat of mass Sharia-adherent immigration, unreformed-Islam in general, and the fifth column that operates within this country to ensure that Muslim communities become disenchanted with America’s constitutional system of government.

The introduction sets the tone for the entire policy paper. McCaul asserts that “Islamist terrorists have perverted a major religion into a hateful worldview, and while most Muslims do not share their beliefs, their influence is spreading like wildfire.” While this definitely sounds more refreshing than the Democrat refusal to mention Islam at all, it is still a factually troubled statement because it completely divorces the problem from anything inherent in the practice of the religion itself by those who strictly adhere to Sharia. That is not a small group of people perverting a religion and it’s not isolated to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. While ISIS’s successful propaganda campaign has definitely fanned the flames and provided Sharia-adherents with a fulfillment of the caliphate, the problem existed long before 2013 and will continue after the caliphate collapses.

McCaul continues down this false narrative of divorcing “terrorists” (the scary network people abroad) from the general population of Sharia-supporting Muslims already living in America or those who seek to immigrate: “Terrorists are trying to send operatives to our shores and radicalize new ones in U.S. communities.”

Once again, McCaul believes that the threat is limited to potential infiltration of known terror networks into immigrant or native Muslim populations, completely disregarding the inherent threat of large populations of Sharia-adherents clustered together in the West. It’s as if McCaul can’t find Europe on a map.

Moreover, McCaul completely ignores the fact that civilization jihad is being waged on our shores, within the government, and within our political class by the Muslim Brotherhood to radicalize Muslim communities and marginalize reformists. They don’t need to send operatives to our shores when Hamas fundraisers are already here, obtaining security clearances and downright training our law enforcement in “counter terrorism.”

While this is not the bold Hillary/Obama form of willful blindness, it presents us with Bush 2.0, a woefully inadequate approach – especially after eight years of Obama’s malfeasance.

The willful blindness in identifying the threat and its doctrine manifests in many of the polices laid out by the report:

Immigration/Refugees

McCaul’s report speaks of the need for better “vetting” of immigrants. He even mentions researching an applicant’s social media posting to see if they have pledged support to a terror group. But foundationally, he has no inherent problem with the record-high immigration from the Middle East. While this approach is one step ahead of the Obama blindness, in which applicants have a right to “privacy” from DHS officials investigating their social media activity, it misses the point. This is not merely about vetting for known individual terrorists or those espousing support for terrorist networks. This is about those who subscribe to the ideology that cultivates the climate of homegrown terror in the family, neighborhood, and community.

Take the case of Somali immigration, for example. We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees over the past two decades — in contravention to America’s national interests on any level. Dozens from the Minneapolis community have been charged with terrorism-related activities, and statements from the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota indicate that there is a culture that runs much deeper than those numbers suggest. Was this something we could have weeded out through “vetting” 15-25 years ago? Perhaps in a few cases. But for the most part, this is a cumulative problem inherent in mass migration from dangerous Islamic countries.

This is the enduring lesson from the jihadists of Boston, Ft. Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, and the pair of Somali and Afghani immigrants who perpetrated attacks this past weekend. Typically, the parents will not engage in terrorism. Nonetheless, they cluster in communities that adhere to Sharia and are educated through Muslim Brotherhood propaganda. The attackers in each of these cases were the second generation; the children brought to America by their parents or born on American soil. McCaul’s plan to look myopically for connections or allegiance to a specific terror group might save a few more lives than under the Obama Administration, but it fails to identify the core of the problem and the enduring lessons from Europe.

Prison jihadism

To its credit, the report rightly warns that our prisons have become veritable jihadist breeding grounds, but it declines to name the biggest contributor to that reality. “As the number of convicted homegrown terrorists grows, so does the risk that our prisons will become wellsprings of fanaticism,” it reads. The report continues,

The federal government must examine non-governmental rehabilitation options for convicted terrorists to prevent more individuals from entering the prison system primed to spread their hateful ideology. The Bureau of Prisons should also take steps to combat prison radicalization, including proactively monitoring known extremists and putting measures in place to prevent them from inspiring fellow inmates to embrace terror.

One can only hope the federal government would be watching for groups with ties to organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. Or how about the Islamic Society of North America, which was found on a list of Chaplaincy Endorsers provided by the federal government earlier this year. However, without making that clear, we cannot expect the federal government to do just that.

Thirteen years ago, the FBI arrested Abdurahman Alamoudi,the man responsible for establishing the entire Muslim chaplaincy program within the Bureau of Prisons, for funding Al Qaeda. In 2003, Chuck Schumer railed against the Bush administration for doing nothing to investigate all the people Alamoudi appointed (more on this from Ben Weingarten’s article yesterday). What is McCaul doing to this very day to go after the Muslim Brotherhood in the chaplaincy?

Terrorist travel

Here, again, the report confronts us with a premise that, as a baseline, nobody can find much fault. However, in doing so, the report muddles the details. It rightly states that jihadists leaving the United States to visit high-risk countries is a massive security concern, but says very little substantively to directly confront the problem. Perhaps the worst part of the report is that it calls on the Obama administration — which did a phenomenal job of enlisting Muslim Brotherhood affiliates for its ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ program — to develop a plan to stop jihadists from re-entering the United States. It says nothing of the plans already before Congress, like the Expatriate Terrorist Act, which would strip the citizenship of anyone who leaves to train with a foreign terror organization.

Instead, it says, “The White House should produce a strategy to combat terrorist travel and to prevent Americans from leaving to join terrorist organizations.” This is nothing short of laughable, given Obama’s track record.

Conclusion

McCaul is absolutely correct to observe that, fifteen years after 9/11, our counterterrorism policies have failed miserably. But they have failed because we didn’t accurately identify the threat confronting us, and that willful blindness did not begin with the Obama administration. Until political correctness is put aside and the threat is accurately identified, policymakers will continue missing the target with their solutions. This isn’t to say that it’s completely errant, however. Make no mistake, while McCaul’s proposals are far closer to the mark than anything we’ve seen from the Obama Administration thus far, they’re just far enough off of it to still be dangerous. And given McCaul’s prominent role in advising Donald Trump on homeland security, that should concern everyone who wants a bold change in direction.

Homeland Security’s Alarming Message on Immigration-Terror Links

DHSCounterJihad, Sept. 2, 2016:

Two former Obama administration officials, Betsey Cooper and David Benjamin, published what is meant to sound like an authoritative rebuttal to the Donald Trump immigration speech.  Instead, it raises questions about whether the Obama administration even understands the dangers facing it on immigration and its link to terrorism.

Of course, in the wake of the Ben Rhodes scandal on the “Iran deal,” we can never be sure if the Obama administration’s allies are serious about what they put forward as ‘authoritative rebuttals.’  Just as with Rhodes’ management of the Iran debate, this may simply be an attempt to set up an echo chamber designed to prevent a real discussion of the risks.  However, if this article represents the real opinion of administration insiders, it shows an alarming failure to understand what is going on with immigration and terror.

Let us go through a few of the major errors of thought on display.  Number one:  Donald Trump, more than the failures of our system, is responsible for public concern.

The inescapable message is that the nation’s $25 billion-a-year immigration system cannot identify and keep out bad actors. And while the killings in San Bernardino and Atlanta have undoubtedly sharpened Americans’ fear of terrorist attack, Trump’s rhetoric is clearly having an impact: A Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll showed that 79% of Republicans favor limiting the flow of refugees and migrants and imposing stricter border controls to help prevent terrorism.

Indeed, major and obvious failures of the system ought to call into question the validity of the system.  It does seem that we are spending a vast amount of money on a system that does, in fact, fail to identify and keep out bad actors.  The response to this that strikes them as the “most obvious counter” is ridiculous:  that the real killers have gone through even more DHS vetting than ordinary refugees and immigrants.

The most obvious counter to Trump’s narrative is to note that not a single terrorism-related death since 9/11 was caused by foreign operatives coming into the country to cause violence—from Fort Hood to Orlando, the killings were all caused by citizens and green card holders.

Why should that make anyone feel better?  The process of getting a green card, or citizenship, is even more invasive than anything involved in getting a visa.  Indeed, the biggest problem of all is the one they merely wink at:

[R]adicalization is not a hereditary affliction—indeed, most parents of extremists have been aghast at their children’s deeds…

In fact, second-generation immigrants are more than twice as likely to become radicalized as their parents.  That being the case, it doesn’t matter how good your vetting of immigrants might be.  It is their children, perhaps not even yet born, who are most likely to turn against a Western system.  This problem has been carefully studied by numerous perfectly mainstream media outlets and scientists, and there is no good solution for it.

That a first generation of Muslim immigrants is often succeeded by a radical second generation has been documented by Foreign Policy, PBS, and by statisticians in Denmark.  The first generation came to America or to Europe for reasons they felt strongly enough to make the move.  They understood they were electing to move to a society that was less Islamic, and accepted the trade off.  Their children, born in the West, did not experience the realities that made their parents leave the old world.  They reject the laws and customs of their new society as being opposed to their Islamic identity.  The Danish statistics found that second-generation Muslim immigrants are 218% more inclined to crime than their parents’ generation.

If the children are the greatest threat, how can vetting the parents even help?  By the same token, if the green card system doesn’t work at identifying bad actors, let alone the process of obtaining citizenship, why should we have any faith in the visa system?  The whole system is a failure, not just the visa process.  Every part of the system of immigration has failed.

That said, the visa process is also a failure.  The visa system has two major problems, neither of which do they acknowledge.  The first one is that all the various steps that they talk about at such length require access to records that do not exist.  “Before prospective visa holders even arrive at a U.S. Embassy or consulate for an interview, their names, photographs, fingerprint and other data such as marriage licenses are first validated,” we are told.  Now, photographs and fingerprints can be validated in the absence of records by taking new ones.  How do you validate a “marriage license” from Syria right now?  Its records have been destroyed in the war, and its few remaining public officials are (a) too busy fighting a war to handle records requests, and (b) no longer in any sense an American partner, as we have long opposed the Syrian regime for waging chemical warfare on its own population.  They have no reason to help us, and even if they wanted to help us, they have no power to help us.

The vetting process on visas is thus completely worthless if there are no records that would identify someone as a problem, nor records against which we can check their claims.  The second problem, though, is that refugees admitted first to Europe won’t require a visa anyway.  Under the visa waiver program, anyone holding a passport from most European nations are admitted with no visa scrutiny at all.  All that happens in these cases is a reference to “Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record information,” databases that depend entirely on what the refugees told their original country of refuge.

What is wrong is not that there isn’t a huge and expensive system with lots of box-checking steps.  What is wrong is that all those steps by all those bureaucrats have no connection to reality.  The connection between terrorism and immigration is undeniable.  It is only made stronger by the fact that the second generation turns out to be more often committed to terror than the original immigrants.  It is only made worse by the fact that the more thorough processes for green cards and actual citizenship show regular failures in identifying bad actors.

The system is a failure.  The only thing that is unclear is whether the Obama administration understands even that it has failed, let alone why it has failed.  We cannot begin to fix it until we acknowledge the problem.

The Case for Extreme Immigrant Vetting

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It’s a practice as American as apple pie—and for good reason.

Politico, by GEORGE J. BORJAS, August 17, 2016

In his major foreign policy speech earlier this week, Donald Trump explained how he would expand the “ideological” vetting of immigrants who want to come to the United States. “The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today,” he said. “I call it extreme vetting.” In particular, Trump proposed, “We must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles—or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law. Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country.”

As with practically all of Trump’s policy statements, the over-the-top commentary came swiftly. Over at the Washington Post an opinionator opined (and I’m only slightly paraphrasing) that Trump’s ideas were crazier than crazy. I knew it wouldn’t take long before somebody called them un-American, and MSNBC nicely obliged; a commentator commented that “this is the single most un-American thing I have ever heard in my life.”

If all those pundits had bothered to do just a couple of minutes of googling before reacting, they would have discovered that immigrant vetting, and even extreme immigrant vetting, has a very long tradition in American history. Since before the founding even, U.S. policies about whom the country chooses to welcome and reject have changed in response to changing conditions. As early as 1645, the Massachusetts Bay Colony prohibited the entry of poor or indigent persons. By the early 20th century, the country was filtering out people who had “undesirable” traits, such as epileptics, alcoholics and polygamists. Today, the naturalization oath demands that immigrants renounce allegiance to any foreign state. Even our Favorite Founding Father du jour, Alexander Hamilton (himself an immigrant), thought it was important to scrutinize whoever came to the United States. He wrote:

To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens, the moment they put foot in our country … would be nothing less, than to admit the Grecian Horse into the Citadel of our Liberty and Sovereignty. … The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass. … In times of great public danger there is always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone weakens the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader.

In other words, immigration vetting is as American as apple pie.

In the colonial era, governments were particularly concerned with the entry of “public charges” who could impart substantial costs on the indigenous population. In 1691, the Province of New York must have hired a professional economist to design a bonding system that would discourage the entry of people who would be a drag on public resources:

All Persons that shall come to inhabit within this Province … and hath not a visible Estate, or hath not a manual occupation, shall, before he be admitted an Inhabitant, give sufficient surety, That he shall not be a burden or Charge to the respective places, he shall come to Inhabit. Which Security shall continue for two years.

And in 1740, Delaware enacted legislation to “Prevent Poor and Impotent Persons being Imported.” Many of these colonial-era restrictions remained in place until 1875, when the Supreme Court invalidated state-imposed head taxes on immigrants to fund the financial burden of caring for poor entrants, and made immigration the sole purview of the federal government. But that wasn’t the end of immigrant filters. Congress responded by creating the vetting system that—although modified many times—remains in place today. In 1875, Congress prohibited the entry of prostitutes and convicts. In 1882, Congress suspended the immigration of Chinese laborers, and added idiots, lunatics and persons likely to become public charges to the list for good measure.

One of my favorite examples of the extreme vetting is the 1917 Immigration Act, which, in addition to effectively barring immigration from Asia, listed the many traits that would make potential immigrants inadmissible. The following quote is very long, but it shows the excruciating detail with which Americans have historically resorted to extreme vetting:

All idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, insane persons; persons who have had one or more attacks of insanity at any time previously; persons of constitutional psychopathic inferiority; persons with chronic alcoholism; paupers; professional beggars; vagrants; persons afflicted with tuberculosis in any form or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease; persons not comprehended within any of the foregoing excluded classes who are found to be and are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living; persons who have been convicted of or admit having committed a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; polygamists, or persons who practice polygamy or believe in or advocate the practice of polygamy; anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States, or of all forms of law, or who disbelieve in or are opposed to organized government, or who advocate the assassination of public officials, or who advocate or teach the unlawful destruction of property; persons who are members of or affiliated with any organization entertaining and teaching disbelief in or opposition to organized government, or who advocate or teach the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers … of the Government of the United States or of any other organized government.

In other words, even a century ago we had put in place ideological filters against anarchists, persons who advocate the destruction of property, and persons who believe in overthrowing the government of the United States.

Of course, some of these filters, such as those restricting the entry of epileptics or Asians, have long since been rolled back—and for good reason. But many of them—especially those pertaining to criminals, and people who are likely to work against U.S. interests—remain in current law, with additions that reflect the changing security landscape. Hijacking and drug trafficking, for example, became major concerns only in the past few decades, and the law changed accordingly to ensure that it became more difficult for hijackers and drug traffickers to enter the country.

Here is the application filled out by green card applicants today (Form I-485). Among the many questions are:

Have you EVER, in or outside the United States:

a. Knowingly committed any crime of moral turpitude or a drug-related offense for which you have not been arrested?

Have you EVER:

a. Within the past 10 years been a prostitute or procured anyone for prostitution, or intend to engage in such activities in the future?

b. Engaged in any unlawful commercialized vice, including, but not limited to, illegal gambling

c. Knowingly encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted or aided any alien to try to enter the U.S. illegally?

d. Illicitly trafficked in any controlled substance, or knowingly assisted, abetted, or colluded in the illicit trafficking of any controlled substance?

Have you EVER engaged in, conspired to engage in, or do you intend to engage in, or have you ever solicited membership or funds for, or have you through any means ever assisted or provided any type of material support to any person or organization that has ever engaged or conspired to engage in sabotage, kidnapping, political assassination, hijacking, or any other form of terrorist activity?

Do you intend to engage in the United States in:

a. Espionage?

b. Any activity a purpose of which is opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the United States, by force, violence, or other unlawful means?

Have you EVER been a member of, or in any way affiliated with, the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party?

Did you, during the period from March 23, 1933 to May 8, 1945, in association with either the Nazi Government of Germany or any organization or government associated or allied with the Nazi Government of Germany, ever order, incite, assist, or otherwise participate in the persecution of any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion?

And, finally, here’s part of the oath that immigrants who wish to become citizens of the United States must recite at the naturalization ceremony:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty; … that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law.

In view of this almost 400-year track record, is it really that big a stretch to add questions, as Trump proposes, that would expand the filtering to reflect political conditions and national security concerns today? In particular, is it really that big a departure from what we have done in the past if we also asked green card applicants: “Do you believe that religious law should supplant the Constitution of the United States?” Or if we asked: “Do you believe that the law should treat people differentially based on their gender, their race, or their sexual orientation?” And would it really be that unreasonable if we had second thoughts about admitting persons who answered those questions in the affirmative? Are there really that many Americans who would disagree with the notion that a reasonable immigration policy should, in Trump’s words, keep out “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred”?

Of course, it is sensible to wonder whether such filters are effective. I doubt that the 9/11 terrorists admitted in their applications for foreign student visas that they planned to use their flight training to fly planes into the World Trade Center. But the fact that such filtering is far from perfect does not imply that we should not have any filters whatsoever. If nothing else, the perjury in the visa application gives the government an easy way for detaining and deporting dangerous immigrants living in our midst, even after they become American citizens. The falsification or concealment of relevant facts during the application process provides grounds for the removal of a green card, for the revoking of naturalization, and for eventual deportation.

The many filters that have been used throughout American history to determine who will and will not get an entry visa have an obvious purpose. Yes, some of them, in the hindsight of history, seemed to have had no constructive purpose. But for the most part, they helped to strengthen the social and political fabric of our country and they helped to define the common set of values that distinguishes us as Americans. Or to quote Alexander Hamilton again: “The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common National sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits.”

So, regardless of what you think about the Trump candidacy, the next time you hear that Trump’s proposal for immigrant vetting is un-American, the correct response is that it is American to its core. And the next time you hear that Trump’s proposal is crazier than crazy, the correct response is that—given the mess the world is in—it is the notion that we should not vet immigrants more carefully that is certifiably insane.

George J. Borjas is a professor of economics and social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. This article from has been adapted from an essay previously published on his blog.

***

Trump Counter-Terror Speech: What’s Right; What Needs Work

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (Photo: video screenshot)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (Photo: video screenshot)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Aug. 16, 2016:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump outlined his proposed counter-terrorism strategy yesterday. He laid out an impressive ideology-based strategy that includes uplifting Muslim reformers; however, he also vindicated decades of Islamist propaganda by emphasizing his opinion that the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil from its people, which would have required a long-term military occupation to protect it.

What Was Right

The parts of the speech about waging an ideological war on radical Islam were a breath of fresh air.

Criticizing of the past two administrations for not identifying the enemy is not an inconsequential squabbling over semantics. It’s an organizing principle. It is necessary for distinguishing friend from foe and waging the war of ideas. Confronting this ideology should be enthusiastically received by liberals/progressives and conservatives alike.

Trump explained, “Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”

“My administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith. Our administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East and will amplify their voices. This includes speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings…” he continued.

When it comes to outlining the radical Islamic beliefs that we must confront, Trump knocked it out of the park, saying:

“A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people. In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test of the threats we face today.

“In addition to screening out all members of sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles—or who believe that sharia law should supplant American law.

“Those who do not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country.”

He also called for deporting non-citizens who preach hatred, teaching our values and patriotism to newcomers and wisely talked about why assimilation is an “expression of compassion,” rather than “an act of hostility.”

Casting aside his ridiculous and offensive idea of a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S., he instead advocated “extreme” ideological vetting based around American values.

Dr. Daniel Pipes has some recommendations on a vetting process can separate Islamists from Muslims we should embrace showing that this process is possible by using background checks, link analysis of what groups potential immigrants have associated with and questioning.

What Needs Work

Although this may be coming at a later date, Trump did not provide details of his counter-terrorism strategy except for his plan to halt inappropriate immigration. Trump pledged to uplift moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, something that is extremely necessary, yet did not mention embracing the Iranian opposition.

If Trump wants to be an ally with Muslim reformers and pro-human rights, his plan for a temporary ban on immigration from unstable countries known for exporting terrorism has to be amended to account for persecuted minorities or reformist Muslims fleeing those countries. For example, immigration for persecuted Coptic Christian from Egypt or a Muslim who is swarmed with death threats for challenging honor killings in Pakistan must fall into a special category.

Interestingly, Trump sees “secular” dictators like Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak as net pluses. In other speeches, he has blasted the pursuit of regime changes and undermining of governments.

Isn’t this a contradiction to promoting Muslim reformers?

Playing Into the Hands of Islamists

In the speech Trump firmly stated his opinion that the United States should have seized Iraqi’s oil production capabilites, which have required an indefinite occupation of the country.

“I was saying this constantly and to whoever would listen: Keep the oil, keep the oil, keep the oil. I said, ‘don’t let someone else get it.’…In the old days, when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils,” he said.

For decades, one of the main—and most fruitful—Islamist talking points is that the West, particularly the U.S., is scheming to steal oil from the Muslims and is happy to lie and slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocents to get it.

This breeds relentless hostility to American and the West and favorability towards Islamism. If that propaganda is seen as an undeniable fact (though statements such as these), then it becomes almost impossible for moderate Muslim reformers to succeed.

Those who argue that violent jihad against America is permissible use this very argument.

Until now, when speaking to the masses, Islamists had to block statement after statement from American politicians that America is not after the oil of the Muslims.

Now, jihadis have clips of an American presidential candidate supported by about 41% of the country advocating what they’ve claimed all along—that the U.S. wants to militarily conquer their land and take their resources.

***

Prof. Ryan Mauro, Clarion Project’s national security analyst, appears on “The Thom Hartmann Show,” the #1 progressive radio show, to discuss Donald Trump’s counter-terrorism speech on August 15.

‘The War Is Here’: Trump & Gorka Warn of Worsening ISIS Threat

gorkatrump

Fox News Insider, Aug. 18, 2016:

Donald Trump joined Sean Hannity tonight for an exclusive town hall conversation about the threats of ISIS and radical Islam.

Counterterrorism expert and author Dr. Sebastian Gorka joined Trump and Hannity onstage at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, declaring that President Obama, Hillary Clinton and those who think like them simply don’t understand the dire threat we’re facing.

“The war is real and the war is here,” Gorka said. “This is a threat that is real and is escalating every day.”

He pointed out that not only has ISIS turned Iraq and Syria into a “hellhole,” there is now an ISIS-related attack abroad every 84 hours.

Gorka said that Trump’s proposals will “absolutely” keep Americans safer than those of Obama or Clinton.

“If you don’t have borders, you don’t have security,” Gorka said. “If Hillary Clinton becomes the commander-in-chief and continues the policies of this administration, American lives will be endangered.”

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Trump Meets Victims of Radical Islamic Terror at ‘Hannity’ Town Hall

During a “Hannity” town hall event tonight, Donald Trump spoke to several victims of radical Islamic terror.

Karen McWatters, who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing, said that we need leaders who will speak openly and honestly about the threats facing our country.

Trump said that unlike President Obama and Hillary Clinton, he actually wants to do something to protect Americans from radical Islamists, and that’s why he’s advocating “extreme vetting” of any immigrants coming into the U.S.

Kris Paronto, one of the heroes of Benghazi, and Dorothy Woods, whose husband Ty Woods was killed in the 2012 terror attack, agreed that there’s no doubt that we’re at war with radical Islam in the U.S. and abroad.

“I believe in the vetting process,” Paronto said. “Not all Muslims are bad, but the Muslim community in America – they are Americans because they’re here – they need to start speaking out publicly and condemning.”

***

Trump on ‘Extreme Vetting’: Orlando Shooter’s Dad Should Be ‘Thrown Out’

The Orlando shooter’s father should be “thrown out” of the United States, Donald Trump said in a Hannity town hall event that aired last night.

Trump, who earlier this week laid out his plan for “extreme vetting” of those who want to emigrate from Middle Eastern nations, was asked about how he would handle Seddique Mateen.

“I’d throw him out,” said Trump, mentioning Mateen’s attendance at a Hillary Clinton rally in Florida earlier this month.

“He’s got a big smile on his face throughout the whole thing. He obviously liked what he heard from her,” said Trump.

Hannity noted that Mateen, whose son murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub, had expressed “radical” views in the past and support for the Taliban.

Trump said Muslims living in the United States need to help authorities in identifying possible terrorists before they strike.

“If they’re not gonna help us, they’re to blame also,” he said.

Trump argued that in San Bernardino there were warning signs about the couple that carried out the attack on an office building last year. But he said that neighbors did not call policebecause they didn’t want to be seen as racially profiling the couple.

Watch the whole thing:

Is Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” That Far Off Existing US Policies

ct-donald-trump-extreme-vetting-immigrants-20160817Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, Aug. 16, 2016:

While the MSM has gone out of its way to question every plausible unintended consequence(s) of Donald Trump’s new “extreme” vetting for immigrants, perhaps it is worth looking at some of the current questions the US Immigration Services asks and compare those to Trump’s proposals. They may not be that far off.

To recap, Trump proposed an ideological test of “Islamic sympathizers” to be admitted, focusing on issues including religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights.

And while some have questioned the validity of a test, and whether a presumed terrorist would even be honest in said test, the experts and political pundits should take a look at what the US currently asks individuals.

  • Have you ever been involved in, or do you seek to engage in, money laundering?
  • Are you coming to the United States to engage in prostitution or unlawful commercialized vice or have you been engaged in prostitution or procuring prostitutes within the past 10 years?
  • Have you ever committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States?
  • Do you seek to engage in terrorist activities while in the United States or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?
  • Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?
  • Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide?
  • Have you ever committed, ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in torture?
  • Have you, while serving as a government official, been responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom?
  • Have you ever been directly involved in the coercive transplantation of human organs or bodily tissue?

Evidently, if any of the US allies (e.g. Saudi Arabia) answered these questions honestly, they would not be admitted to the US. But, perhaps the best question still being asked to all immigrants is as follows:

  • Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?

If the US government currently engages in these and other questionings, is it that far off to ask  if you are anti gay rights, anti Semitic or pro sharia law?

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