Congressman Bill Flores has expressed enthusiastic support for President Trump’s ban on refugees from seven majority Muslim countries. He stated in a Fox News interview that America needs time to “take a breath” from settling refugees. As a pro-life Christian, this statement bothers me. No, it angers me.
America has had exactly zero successful terrorist attacks from a refugee since before the Refugee Act of 1980. In other words, the vetting process works magnificently. Meanwhile, children, women and men in the banned countries do not have 120 days “take a breath.” Their lungs are too full of soot and ash from the bombs dropped on them by half-a-dozen countries, including the US. Harriet Agerholm reported for The Independent that “the US dropped 79 per cent of all 30,743 coalition bombs in 2016.” They do not have room to breathe because they are packed like sardines into tiny boats, looking for somewhere—anywhere—with a sky free of bombers.
In light of this evidence, a group of concerned citizens (including myself) sent a barrage of requests to Congressman Flores to provide a description of the pre-executive order vetting process and a description of its inadequacies. We asked for definitive proof that the process has failed. After several days of sustained pressure, he finally responded by telling us that he will never answer his constituents’ questions about this matter. He calls it an issue of national security, but the facts prove him wrong. For almost forty years, the Refugee Act has kept Americans safe. In fact, Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute demonstrates that in those forty years, Americans had an astronomical 1 in 3.64 billion chance per year of being killed by a refugee terrorist.
We did not ask the congressman for details of the vetting process due to our own ignorance. The details of the vetting process are available to the public, which makes his appeal for secrecy all the more absurd. Rather, we asked because we want Congressman Flores to demonstrate his own familiarity with it. Instead of reassuring his constituents that he understands the grueling 18-24 months of vetting, he simply requested that we quietly accept his word for it. He wants us to ignore the overwhelming evidence that the refugee resettlement program poses no imminent threat to our safety. He wants us afraid. He wants us uninformed.
Why? Could it be that the congressman is just a career bureaucrat, playing on our basest fears for political leverage? Could it be that he is not pro-life, as he claims? Could it be that the congressman is more concerned with his reputation with the Trump administration than with human life? He will not (because he cannot) prove that his support for the refugee ban will do anything more than send thousands, maybe even millions, to be raped and murdered by ISIS or bombed by the US and its allies. I, for one, refuse to be ignorant and passive. Until he proves that we are unsafe, I will be unafraid and I will stand up for the innocent.
I want my congressman to base his decisions on facts and to keep his constituents informed. Most of all, I want my congressman to value human life over political power. The citizens of district 17 deserve that kind of congressperson.