North Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s response to President Obama’s last State of the Union was all but guaranteed to stir up controversy. However, despite her having provided strongly Conservative counterpoints to Obama’s Leftist propaganda, many on the Right are focusing on one particular point in her broadcast.
While certain Presidential candidates and their supporters are claiming that Governor Haley made a statement supporting illegal immigration and opposed to closing our borders to terrorists, the exact opposite is the truth.
Consider Governor Haley’s actual words:
“No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.
“At the same time, that does not mean we just flat out open our borders. We can’t do that. We cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. And in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined.
“We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.”
Governor Haley said – in no uncertain terms – that we must end illegal immigration, vet everyone who applies for legal immigrant status and keep out not only terrorists but anyone whose “intentions cannot be determined.” It is all but impossible to make a stronger statement with regard to terrorism, illegal immigration and entry into the USA.
At the same time, many Conservatives have taken up the battle cry of banning Muslims from entry into the US. Given the fact that terrorism during the past few decades has been all but exclusively the domain of Islamic Jihadists and that the Syrian “refugee crisis” appears to be accelerating the incidence of Islamic violence, this position would seem to be eminently sensible at first glance. The problem is that – while it does satisfy our visceral and emotional need to feel that we are addressing the problem – it will actually have little effect.
There are significant problems with implementation of that idea and they are problems which we cannot overcome as long as we phrase our ban as being against the entry of Muslims into the country. The primary issue is one of identification. Passports do not identify religion. Questioning those seeking entry as to religion does no good as terrorists who seek to harm our citizens are highly likely to lie about who they are and what they believe. We cannot keep Muslims out if we cannot identify Muslims.
There is – however – a solution, a workable, effective solution. The criteria we apply have to be objectively verifiable. Place of birth, place of residence, place of citizenship. If any of these three are tied to countries which promote terrorism, countries which operate per Sharia law, countries from which significant numbers of terrorists have come or countries which refuse to recognize the existence of the State of Israel (this is a very effective litmus test,) the person in question should be banned from entry into the US. The same should apply to those coming from Islamic areas of Russia and other non-Islamic countries which happen to have majority Muslim regions.
Applying such objective tests would achieve exactly what is desired by those who call for a “ban on Muslims” but without a test which cannot be verified. That is the only way to effectively keep those out who want to kill us. We know this solution will work because it does work. Hungary put a fence in place to end mass entry into the country along her southern borders. Those who wish to enter the country must apply and be interviewed. Certain groups are banned not by virtue of unverifiable religious affiliation but by country of origin. Hungary is one country which does not have an Islamic rape problem.
However, we must also be clear that no ban will keep us completely safe. Not only do we have our own homegrown Islamic Jihadists in the US already, people we may not be able to identify until it is too late but there will be those born Muslim or converted to Islam in non-Islamic countries who will enter the US regardless of the ban. Consider a theoretical case of young man in London born to an English father and a Bosnian mother. His name might be John Smith. His appearance would be thoroughly British, right down to the blue eyes. Yet, he might be raised by his mother and told stories of Serbian atrocities in Bosnia and myths about “apartheid” against Palestinians. Johnny would apply for a visa to visit New York City and know all the right things to say. Nobody would suspect him of being a Jihadist or even a Muslim.
We cannot be completely safe fighting a defensive war. Certain measures can make us safer, if properly implemented, but we cannot create true safety without taking the war to our enemies. Advocating for Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims or Nikki Haley’s less specific ban on those whose intentions cannot be determined will not keep us safe. Accepting the far more specific and verifiable criteria for filtering entry will help tremendously but cannot guarantee security. It may even be that 100% certain safety is impossible. On the other hand, a proactive war against our enemies – the political, cultural, financial and religious characters driving anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world and the cannon fodder they have recruited – will bring us as close as possible to ensuring that our children and grandchildren can live in a world where terror attacks in the West are rare rather than a commonplace daily occurrence.