Americans have a long history of negative policies toward refugees, immigrants (COMMENTARY)

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A Syrian refugee holds a baby at the port of Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, on November 5, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-RUDIN-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Nov. 18, 2015.

A Syrian refugee holds a baby at the port of Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, on November 5, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-RUDIN-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Nov. 18, 2015.

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(RNS) We're a nation of immigrants -- who tried to keep out Catholics, Jews and now Syrian refugees.

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  • Bernardo

    And how does one fully vet a Muslim whose “holy” book dictates death to all infidels? And please no out of context verbiage. Terrorists follow the literal reading of the koran as do many other Muslims. We learn from history and 9/11 has taught us many things, the most important one is that Muslims cannot be trusted no matter what they may swear to in front of an immigration official.

  • John

    This site loves to criticize imperfect people and imperfect systems. You love to show the failures and it comes with a tone of joy about it. What do you expect? I guess if you can point the finger at others it makes you and your beliefs look better. How trite. Are you trying to set the record straight or make people of faith feel bad about the past? What gives RNS? Is there no good to be found except in your interpretation?

  • Fran

    Concerning immigrants, that was not the situation in the U.S. in the early 1950’s! My mom and dad, born and raised in France, became good friends with American soldiers during the Second World War there. After it ended, one of them contacted my dad by letter and recommended he come here to the “land of opportunity” and that there was “gold in California” (lol).

    His curiosity and interest in the U.S. became so great he decided to “test the waters” and come to the state of Nevada, where his soldier friend had moved to, because of growing construction and dad was a carpenter.

    The bottom line was that he got a great job, informed his girlfriend in France he wanted to move here, went home, married her, and moved to Nevada in 1953. Both my mom and dad left their country, family and friends, and raised 5 daughters here. We are still here!

    All I can say, as a French American, is that it was a different world then, not so crazy and overcome by terrorism as it is now!

  • Richard Rush

    Bernardo, I’ve been reading your comments on various RNS posts regarding the so-called ‘refugees,’ and I just want to say that I agree with you.

  • Larry

    Well Fran, some of my relatives were turned away from US shores during the late 30’s and WWII because they were of an unpopular religious group. Most of them died at the hands of the Nazis.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Michael

    I have seen a dearth of columnists tackling this subject mention, the U. S. already currently vets Syrian refugees coming into this country and there is currently a two year wait while they are being vetted. In the wake of the atrocities in Paris, people’s imaginations are running wild, that that standard will somehow be brushed to the side, and 10,000 UN-vetted immigrants will simply be allowed entrance with NO vetting whatsoever. This is an irrational fear. If anything the scrutiny within the vetting process, in the wake of the Paris tragedy, will be more strenuous, not less.

  • Fran

    Larry,

    I am so sorry to hear about the situation concerning your relatives during those times!! ??

    Many of my brothers and sisters in faith living in Europe were put in concentration camps and killed by the Nazis as well for remaining neutral. All they had to do was sign a declaration renouncing their faith and they could be released. Most of them refused and suffered the consequences. So I can completely understand the “hate factor” in all of this.

  • Richard Rush

    “Americans have a long history of negative policies toward refugees, immigrants”

    While that fact should cause us to closely examine our response to the current situation, it’s not a legitimate reason to assert there can never be a group of people which can be justifiably rejected.

    My impression is that moderate Muslims are roughly equivalent to theocratic fundamentalist Christians in the US, and that militant/terrorist Muslims simply take it to the next level ~ a level which I believe some US Christians (Kevin Swanson and Ted Shoebat, for examples) aspire to, but are not able to implement under our secular government.

    There are countries in Europe which are considered to be very accepting of gay people (Netherlands, for example), but the reality is that in some areas it is very dangerous to walk the streets if you are gay ~ because of Muslims.

    If there is only one group on earth which can be justifiably rejected, it is sincere adherents to the scourge of Islam.

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  • larry

    Yet the French are taking in 30,000 more refugees in response. They are not only avoiding destructive panic, they are recognizing that these refugees form an important part of fighting Islamicism on the ideological front. The more the West acts like it is “the enemy of all Islam”, the easier time I-S has when it comes to recruiting and finding support outside of Iraq and Syria.

  • Scott Shaver

    By way of comparison, which nation of the world (former or current) has a better track record on immigration than the U.S.?

    The assumption otherwise is false on its face.