Americans more likely to be killed by cows than immigrant terrorists

Flickr/Amanda Parsons

Flickr/Amanda Parsons

Americans are vastly more likely to find employment with a Muslim refugee than to be killed by one. They are in fact much likelier to be killed by cows, fireworks and malfunctioning elevators than an immigrant terrorist.

Cows kill 20 Americans every year on average. (Source) Yes, cows are twenty times more lethal than sharks, bears, or alligators. In 2015 toddlers in the U.S. killed more Americans than foreign terrorists.(Source) There were 301,797 firearm-related deaths in the past decade, compared to 71 deaths from domestic acts of terrorism. (Source) As a means of keeping Americans safe, Mr Trump’s order is almost worthless.

The reputational damage done to America by Mr Trump’s action will be dangerous, as well as large. The attributes that make America attractive to migrants—its openness, fairness and opportunity—are also among its most effective security mechanisms. They help explain why America is at once the most desirable destination for migrants and less prone to jihadist violence than almost any other country with a large Muslim population. By singling out Muslims for discrimination—including a group currently detained at John F. Kennedy airport in New York who had risked their lives working with Americans in Iraq—Mr Trump’s order is a repudiation of these American strengths.

Worsening the damage, he also signalled, in an interview with a Christian television channel, that the ban would not apply to Christians. Syrian Christians, claimed Mr Trump, were “horribly treated” by his predecessor. “If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible,” he said. “I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.” This was not merely incendiary but untrue: last year America accepted 37,521 Christian refugees and 38,901 Muslims.

Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, suggested the ban went too far: “If we send a signal to the Middle East that the US sees all Muslims as jihadis, the terrorist recruiters win.” But this was a rare exception. Most Republicans have either stayed silent or welcomed the ban. Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, was among its fans: “We are a compassionate nation, and I support the refugee resettlement programme, but it’s time to reevaluate and strengthen the visa vetting process,” he said. This is a bad moment for America.

Trump is proof evident of the old joke about politicians. “When do you know a politician is lying? When he’s lips are moving!”

Why Canada Can Safely Meet Its Refugee Commitments

When evaluating security threats, Canadians would do well to look at the evidence. All of the identified attackers from Paris appear to be Belgian or French nationals, yet no politician has suggested increased screening of European visitors or immigrants to Canada. Studies out of the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto and Harvard University link an increase in immigration to a decrease in crime.

Statistics Canada data suggests that the percentage of new immigrants in Toronto and Montreal neighbourhoods is inversely proportional to all types of violent crime.

In Canada, despite the objective lack of connection, politicians began sounding off “security concerns” related to incoming Syrian refugees. Saskatchewan’s Premier Brad Wall called for a delay in resettling Syrian refugees. Premier Christy Clark of British Columbia stated the obvious: that the government needs to ensure that security checks are done on every refugee. These statements demonstrate a clear lack of understanding by government officials of Canada’s process for resettled refugees.

Contrary to the influx of migrants crossing into Europe over the past months, Canada is resettling pre-screened refugees who have been approved for permanent residency by a Canadian visa officer abroad. The process is thorough and involves international and national law enforcement agencies.

Refugees who may be eligible for resettlement are first identified by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), primarily on the basis of their vulnerability. International refugee law is clear that those responsible for serious criminal and terrorist acts will not benefit from refugee protection. Only one to two per cent of individuals registered with the UNHCR get referred into the potential resettlement pool. Anyone with a hint of criminal or terrorism connections is simply not placed into the pool for further assessment.

Next, a UNHCR officer conducts a file analysis. Officers in the Beirut UNHCR office are exceptionally knowledgeable about the events in Syria, the various factions and the timeline of the conflict. This allows for a robust credibility assessment of the facts alleged by the individual. At this point, anyone who the officer identifies as having security or criminal concerns would again be filtered out.

If a file progresses onwards, in general, a UNHCR officer is then tasked with conducting a “refugee status determination.” This includes an interview where the truth of their allegations and their background is fulsomely assessed.

If facts related to criminality or terrorism come to light after the interview, the UNCHR also has a process for cancelling refugee status.

If an individual passes this assessment, the UNHCR can refer the file to a Canadian visa officer who will again interview the person. In each case, the visa officer will assess whether the person meets the definition of a refugee.

The individual is then screened for “admissibility” to Canada. Medical and criminal screening is mandatory. A security review involves, at a minimum, the coordination of Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Information is often sought from third party states, international organizations and searches conducted in international databases.

Read the complete article on The Tyee here.

Statue of Liberty about to be changed?

The Statue of Liberty is famous for the quote upon it, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

The quote may have to be revised after Republican members raised concerns about some refugees entering the United States following the Paris attacks.

statue of liberty conditions