President Obama zings anti-refugee Republicans

President Obama held a conference call with 34 governors yesterday to remind them that, no, they aren’t allowed to restrict movement of refugees once they have been granted legal status and entered the United States.

Thus far, only one Republican governor — Utah’s Gary Herbert — has said that their state will receive refugees. As Herbert said, “Governors really don’t have the ability to stop refugees from coming into their states, in spite the rhetoric we hear out there.”

So President Obama shouldn’t have had to organize such a call. These governors know the rules, and are saying they’ll ignore them to make their constituents feel like they’re doing something about, you know, those people. But with the overall level of nonsense from Republicans in positions of power getting out of hand, getting them together to go back over the basics became necessary. No, they can’t violate the Refugee Act of 1980. Yes, if the federal government decides that “orphans under the age of 5” don’t pose a national security risk, Chris Christie will have to deal with it. No, religious tests for refugees are not constitutional. And seriously, John Kasich, we are not launching a new federal program for spreading Judeo-Christian values abroad.

It’s been a hot mess. None of these proposals would make America any safer, and most if not all of them are some combination of illegal and unworkable. And the more Republican elected officials mislead their constituents about the reality of processing Syrian refugees, the harder it gets for the federal government to actually go about the business of resettling them.

So I wouldn’t exactly blame President Obama for being more than a bit frustrated, as was evident when he unloaded on Republican officials opposed to Syrian refugees in comments issued to reporters last night.


Under current law, it takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months to clear a refugee to come to the United States. They are subject to the most rigorous process conceivable. The intelligence community vets fully who they are…

…It is so cumbersome that it’s very difficult to show the kind of compassion we need to show these folks suffering under the bombings of Assad and the attacks of ISI. They are victims of this terror. If there are concrete, actual ideas to expand the extraordinary screening process in place, we’re open to hearing actual ideas, but that’s not what’s been going on in this debate.

You can’t have a debate about how to implement or change our current immigration policy that isn’t actually based in our current immigration policy. Those who are calling for the United States to implement a more rigorous screening process for refugees than Europe seem willfully ignorant of the fact that this is already the case. For instance, a bill was just introduced in the House to require all refugees to get clearance from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security before entering the country, which sounds great! So great, in fact, that we’re already doing it.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Republicans worried about Syrian refugees have no workable ideas, the proposals they’ve put forward — which have spanned the wide range of “no Muslim refugees” to “no refugees at all” — are more dangerous in the long run. As President Obama continued.

President Obama speaks in Kenya, screenshot via YouTube

President Obama, screenshot via YouTube

I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric coming out of here in the course of this debate. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there’s a war between Islam and the West, and when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive. And it needs to stop. And I would add that these are the same folks who suggested they’re so tough that just talk to Putin or staring down ISIL (will work), but they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion.

And then the kicker:

First they were worried the press was too tough on them in the debates; now they’re worried about 3-year old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.


That line touched a nerve with many conservatives, who took issue not with the crux of Obama’s argument — that the GOP’s posturing over Syrian refugees is both baseless and counterproductive — but rather his tone:

But I mean, look who’s talking, right?

If your ideas are ridiculous and hypocritical —  if you refuse to take a deadly-serious issue seriously — then you don’t get to whine about it when the actual adults in the room call you out. President Obama was dismissive? Good. These Republicans who are trading in dictionary-definition Islamophobia deserve to be dismissed.

In any case, we’re about to see a whole bunch of conservatives who have spent the last seven years calling President Obama a Muslim communist with monkey ears get real sensitive about tone.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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47 Responses to “President Obama zings anti-refugee Republicans”

  1. David Fields says:

    Something similar can be said for the 1/2 native 1/2 european mestizos across the southern Americas. I’d venture to guess that most white Americans don’t have ancestry.

  2. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I don’t agree with Bill, but many of us have Mongolian spots in the early months of our lives. That would indicate that we have First American ancestry along with European ancestry.

  3. David Fields says:

    lmao, Latinos and Latinas ARE the descendants of Europeans who stole the Americas, as if that were relevant. Who is being a hypocrite again?

  4. user1243 says:

    Nothing in your entire post addresses anything related to my comments pointing out the dishonesty I was addressing. Are you sure you meant to respond to me and not someone else?

  5. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Let’s pretend I’m from Missouri. Show me. Supply links to the statistics and the PEW polls.

    BTW – evangelical Christians believe that women should obey their husbands. Also, we expect most of the refugees to be right wing, but we should still do the right thing.

  6. Adriaan De Beer says:

    You all do realize that statistics exist showing what Islamization does to a country right? Sweden rape rate is highest in Europe and 77 percent of all rapes are carried out by the 6 percent of Muslims in the country. Stop yelling “ISLAMOPHOBIA, INTOLERANCE” whenever anyone points out that Muslims are dangerous. Did you know that the majority of Muslims in Islamic countries believe that “women should obey their husbands” and “adulterers should be stoned”(based on PEW polls, in other words objective non-biased globally recognized polling). These people are essentially the same as the right wing you are trying so hard to shout down.

  7. user1243 says:

    So now we went from ”I’ve only seen pictures of refugees being young and strong men’ to “most show large quantities of men”

    So, you were lying. If you have to lie or be intellectually dishonest to make as point, maybe it’s not worth trying.

    Maybe read the news articles instead of just looking at the pictures.

  8. Chris Seemer says:

    Luckily we are not, nor have ever been a Democracy.

  9. LJ Kearny says:

    His own agenda of being a good person? Nice job Judas. You really thought your stupidity out this time.

  10. lesterthegiantape says:

    Thank you.

  11. lesterthegiantape says:

    See also: confirmation bias.

  12. “It’s your choice if you want to believe some statistic over hard evidence.”

    This has to be the stupidest and funniest thing I have read in comments for a while. Do you not see what you are saying? Random anecdotal photos are more hard evidence than the actual statistical data about the refugees?


  13. J R says:

    Actually, that’s precisely what “democracy” means:

    “Democracy, or democratic government, is “a system of government in which all the people of a state or polity … are involved in making decisions about its affairs.”

    We don’t live in a democracy. We live in a representative republic that has a democratic bend. THAT (representative republic) doesn’t mean “popular opinion”.

  14. Jay says:

    Or you know these governors could just follow the law. A democracy doesn’t mean popular opinion.

  15. Ryan S McLaughlin says:

    Not a shooting, but the Oklahoma City Bombing had more casualties than Paris.

  16. Hugh Joocey says:

    Because shooting deaths in a war = shooting deaths in a terrorist attack. Give me a fucking break. Also if I remember right, most deaths during the civil war were actually due to infection.

  17. Dina Wilson says:

    And so your argument is…..they’re changing gender halfway through? what? You were already shown the numbers.

  18. moiriv says:

    If you examine them closely you can tell that the ones with women and children are pictures of syria and the ones with men are pictures of their arrival to western countries.

  19. Afr0 says:

    Now, now. Don’t confuse the matter with facts. They don’t like those elitist ideas.

  20. moiriv says:

    I’ve been looking at multiple articles by google searching and some show pictures of refugees arriving. Most pictures show large quantities of men arriving in countries. I wish I was making this up.

    It’s your choice if you want to believe some statistic over hard evidence.

  21. user1243 says:

    Really? What pictures ‘only’ show young and strong men?

    Quit lying (or get better sources and maybe do more than just look at the pictures.)

    Less than 25% are men between the ages of 18 and 59.

  22. Bmac says:

    If Governors listened to their people, they wouldn’t need Gerrymandering to get elected.

  23. Bmac says:

    “Ever” in US history? Did you forget we had a Civil War? I am pretty sure there were plenty of days where the deaths caused by a shoot-out, outnumbered the attack in Paris.

  24. moiriv says:

    He has been saying that the refugees are orphans and women, but I’ve only seen pictures of refugees being young and strong men.

  25. Hugh Joocey says:

    Except none of the shootings ever in US history even comes remotely close to the scale of what happened in Paris.

  26. Nathan Klayman says:

    Heh. Tone policing from some of the biggest whiny bitch wannabe politicians ever. The irony.

  27. NF says:

    Aside from the dozens of attacks that have already happened in the past few years? We’ve had a lot of violent shootings that have come from American citizens.

  28. oHai says:

    WAIT! Tinfoil actually INCREASES reception to governmental control waves! Don’t let the media fool you!

  29. Moderator4 says:

    You are done here, DF.
    You are banned. And that certainly did not take long, only one comment.

  30. Hugh Joocey says:

    I’m curious to see if we’ll end up seeing an attack on US soil or not. If so, we will probably see one of the biggest shit storms we’ve had in a long time.

  31. Bill_Perdue says:

    Illegal immigrants are Europeans and their descendants who stole the Americas.

    Refugees are Latinos and Latinas who immigrated to the US to escape the environmental and economic catastrophes created by Bill Clinton’s NAFTA.

  32. Bill_Perdue says:

    Obama is not a muslim, he’s a christer and thats one of the things that make it easier t him to engage in the mass murder of Arab and musim civilians form Libya to Pakistan.

  33. Hunter Ortega-Mathews says:

    From the Trump fans.

  34. Judas says:

    Maybe Obama should listen to, you know, the people? Then he wouldnt have to phone up governors. But since when does Obama do that? He has his own agenda to push.

  35. jeffsters says:

    Yeah.waited till the last year too! LOL. Don’t forget he still is coming to get your guns too!

  36. David Fields says:

    there is a difference between illegal immigrants and refugees

  37. AJR says:

    Where can I get one of those tin foil hats DF? So stylish.

  38. DF says:

    Obama’s goal has always been to bring Islam to America, and we’re seeing it in action now.

  39. Bill_Perdue says:

    More hypocrisy form the worst anti-immigrant president in modern history. He’s deported over two million immigrant workers.

  40. BeccaM says:

    Ezekiel 16:49-50:

    Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of
    bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters,
    neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

    It’s worth remembering whenever these selfish, cowardly gits claim to be ‘good Christian men.’

  41. Doug105 says:

    Babies cry, let them.

  42. 2karmanot says:

    Can we say ‘fascists’ now or will that make the Baby Jeebus cry?

  43. The_Fixer says:

    I think it can be safely said that these guys are a whining bunch of little tit-babies.

    How’s my tone, Republican grifters?

  44. Indigo says:

    Oh, and their tone is . . . shouting and pouting? Real grown up, there, Repigs.

  45. nicho says:

    He did take the high road. What he said was infinitely nicer than what I would have said.

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