Last month (June 14), I wrote to my Congressman, Billy Long, inquiring about Syrian refugees. I asked how I could get in line to open my home to one or more of them. I received what appears to be a form letter, rather than the specific steps I must take to emulate others who have shown hospitality to strangers:
June 28, 2016
PO Box 179
Powersite, MO 65731-0179
Dear Mr. Craig,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Syrian refugee crisis. As you may know, the civil war in Syria has resulted in horrific violence and instability when Arab Spring protests escalated into violent conflict. This intense struggle between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebel groups has resulted in massive civilian casualties and widespread human rights abuses. The United Nations estimates that as many as 200,000 people have died since the violence began. The violence has also spilled into neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, which is a NATO member. As many as 7 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes and more than 3 million are now considered refugees. The vast majority of these refugees have resettled in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. This influx of refugees has placed significant strains on these countries food and water supply, housing, hospitals, and schools. In response, the United Nations Refugee Agency plans to refer 30,000 refugees to countries outside of the region. The United States participates in this program, but it will accept only a small portion of this number. Additionally, the number of total refugees is capped for each year at a maximum of 70,000, and there is a further cap every 3 months to minimize the strain placed on the law enforcement and intelligence communities in order to screen and verify each refugee entering the United States. In September 2015, President Obama announced that the United States would accept 10,000 more Syrian refugees over the next year. America has a long history of accepting refugees from all over the world fleeing hardship, oppression, and conflict. However, the security of the United States remains paramount—especially after the terrorist attacks in Paris—and we cannot allow extremists or terrorists into our country. That’s why I signed letters to Governor Nixon and President Obama asking them to halt the process of incoming refugees and to refuse them from entering Missouri and the United States. In addition, I voted in support of H.R. 4038, a bill that would effectively pause President Obama’s refugee program by requiring additional vetting and background checks prior to Iraqi and Syrian refugees ever being admitted the United States. Specifically, it would prohibit any refugees from Iraq and Syria being admitted to the United States unless the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) certifies to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Director of National Intelligence that the individual has received sufficient investigation to determine that they are not a threat to the United States. H.R. 4038 passed the House of Representatives on November 19 by a vote of 289-137.
But aside from these measures, processes like our country’s visa waiver program (VWP) are critically flawed. The VWP allows citizens of other participating countries –mostly European countries—to come to the United States and stay for up to 90 days without a visa. In fact, it would be easier for a terrorist to come through the VWP than as a refugee. As a result, I voted in favor of H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. This bill addresses the vulnerabilities of the VWP and requires the participating countries to share counterterrorism and intelligence information.
This will continue to be an ongoing issue for the United States and I appreciate having the benefit of your views. I remain committed to defending the safety of American citizens above all else, and I will continue to monitor this issue very closely.
For additional information regarding current legislation, my representation of the Seventh District, and to sign up to receive my monthly newsletter, I invite you to visit my website at http://long.house.gov
Please read this article from The New York Times, "Refugees Encounter a Foreign Word: Welcome." These people who show hospitality to refugees are ordinary people, not professionally-trained, certified and accredited, elite refugee professionals and bureaucrats. They are "Canadian hockey moms, poker buddies and neighbors."
Then read the final parable in Matthew 25.
Sure, if I open my home to a refugee, I run a very small risk that I might be opening my home to a Jihadi terrorist. My life could be cut short by 20 years.
On the other hand, if I refuse to show hospitality to a terrorist, and hope that my grace might lead to his/her redemption, I live for an additional 20 years on this planet, and then spend eternity as a goat. ("Goat" is a reference to the Words of Jesus in Matthew 25.)
What does it profit a man if he gains 20 years of fleeting life and loses his soul? (Mark 8:36)
This weekend America is purportedly celebrating the signing of "The Declaration of Independence." A document which the Federal Government has declared must not be taught in public schools as objective truth. We might ask that document, Why are there terrorists? That document would tell us to ask "The Supreme Judge of the World."
And what would the Judge tell us?
Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.God sends the terrorists.