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Are we about to welcome immigrants from terrorist-filled countries?
My take on the news
Lonnie Barham

OBAMA WELCOMES THOSE WHO PROVIDED “LIMITED SUPPORT” TO TERRORISTS: In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama promised that he would act unilaterally on immigration reform by signing executive orders if Congress did not move to reform our failing immigration system. But no one expected Obama’s first act to be one so diametrically opposed to common sense and to the will of Congress.

Obama has eased the rules for entry into the U.S. by refugees and asylum seekers who have provided “limited support to terrorists and terrorists groups.” We already had limited exceptions to the rule that allowed entry for those who had merely provided emergency medical aid to terrorists and those who had been forced to provide assistance to terrorists. Now, the rules have been changed to allow entry to those who actually promoted terrorism or provided low-level but voluntary assistance to terrorist groups.

Our country already has thousands of legal immigrants with green cards from countries where terrorism is in full blossom. We cannot be 100 percent certain that every one of them is loyal to their new homeland. We need only look to the green card-carrying Tsarnaev brothers, the immigrants who bombed the Boston Marathon, to realize that our system for vetting immigrants from terrorist-filled countries is far from perfect. Now we are going to welcome immigrants who we know assisted terrorism in some way? Congress needs to reassert itself on this issue and overrule Obama’s pen.

DRIVING PRIVILEGE LICENSES FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS – A GOOD IDEA THAT WON’T WORK: Governor Chafee has asked a state representative and a state senator to introduce bills in their respective houses that would give a form of driver’s license to those in this country illegally. Called “driving privilege licenses,” the licenses would be different from regular driver’s licenses but would require the same fees and testing before issuance. They would not be acceptable for benefits or voting identification.

Many immigration reform foes call this “rewarding those who broke our laws,” and that it would “corrupt the rule of law.” Other conservatives and most liberals disagree and feel the move should be applauded. They believe the licenses would give illegal aliens no advantage other than not receiving traffic tickets for driving without licenses while the licenses would ensure that illegal aliens driving our streets have been tested for driving skills and knowledge of traffic laws. In their minds, a safety solution without giving additional benefits to illegal immigrants would be a win-win situation.

The problems with the law? First, the law makes it virtually impossible for those who deserve the licenses most to get them. Young adults brought to this country illegally as children must be able to provide one of three documents they very likely cannot provide - a foreign birth certificate, a foreign passport or an unexpired consular identification. Indeed, most other adult illegals will also be unable to provide such documents. So, how many of the estimated 15,000 illegal alien adults in Rhode Island will be able to take advantage of this safety solution?  

The other problem is that when stopped by police, providing the distinctive driving privilege license automatically tells law enforcement that the driver is an illegal alien. This is a strong incentive for illegal aliens to shun the new licenses. An illegal alien will surely think it is better to have no license when stopped and insist he lives here legally than to voluntarily admit he is an illegal alien. After all, to an illegal alien, a traffic ticket is far better than possible deportation.

While Governor Chafee’s intentions may be good, his solution is not practical. Let’s just chalk it up to Chafee’s quixotic insistence on tilting at windmills.

PROACTIVE DRONE LEGISLATION: State Representative Teresa Tanzi of South Kingstown has again introduced legislation that would control and regulate police use of surveillance drones in Rhode Island. The bill would require a public hearing and city or town council approval before a police department could acquire such a drone, or a public hearing and the governor’s approval for state police drone acquisition. Further, use of drones would require a court order except in emergencies. It’s good legislation no matter how you look at it.

Tanzi statement justifying her bill was exactly on point, “Drones have very serious potential for invasive, overreaching use. When it comes to using tiny, unmanned, nearly undetectable robots to watch people when they have the presumption of privacy, we ought to be very, very selective.”

CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND CHILDREN: Many readers know that I am a long-time vegetarian. I abhor the killing of any animal that does not present a danger to me or to other humans, but I do not proselytize. My adult children sit across restaurant tables from me eating steaks without a peep from me. But there’s a limit to my silence.

A few days ago, a Copenhagen zoo decided to kill a healthy, 2-year old giraffe to prevent in-breeding. A 20,000 signature petition and other zoos’ pleas to take the giraffe didn’t faze the zookeepers; they still planned to kill the giraffe. But the way in which they did it should be abhorrent to everyone.

The zookeepers invited children to watch as they killed the giraffe, skinned it, and fed it to the zoo’s lions. Many parents brought their children to watch the macabre event. Children have plenty of opportunities to watch lions kill giraffes in the wild on National Geographic videos and through other wildlife documentaries. It constitutes cruelty to animals and cruelty to children when children are exposed to the killing of animals in captivity that have been deprived of their natural ability to attempt escape from predators?

Yes, we remain a carnivorous world and will continue for the foreseeable future to slaughter animals for food, even though we could feed far more of the world’s population by more often substituting plant protein for the animal flesh we pack into our diets. But is it really necessary for our children to watch the actual killing of animals? In this case it was cruelty to both the giraffe and to the children whose parents pushed them to watch.

OBAMACARE WILL INCREASE LOW-INCOME RANKS:  The Congressional Budget Office, a bipartisan group that has largely supported the Obama administration’s policies in the past, has published a report saying that Obamacare will cause 2.5 million workers to abandon the workforce in the next decade. One of the main reasons these folks are now working, according to the report, is to pay for their healthcare insurance. Now that Obamacare (read that as taxpayers) will pay for their health care or subsidize it heavily, these workers can quit the workforce and stay home. The rest of us who continue to work and pay taxes will pay for them to stay home while they enjoy free healthcare insurance.

It will reduce overall wages in the country and will adversely affect the economy by lowering the amount of money people pay in taxes. Additionally, it will cost jobs since many employers will refuse to pay the higher wages required when the supply of labor has been so diminished. In Rhode Island alone it will result in almost 9,000 fewer jobs. How can our country possible get back on a firm economic footing when Obamacare encourages 2.5 million people who are capable of working to go on the public dole for health insurance? There’s something very wrong with this picture!

Not only will it slow an already sluggish economy, it will also destroy the incentive for the remaining low-income workers to work harder, work overtime, or accept promotions, since to do so might push them into an income bracket that would cost them their free healthcare insurance. The principal economist behind the CBO report, Casey Mulligan, stated, “...when you pay people for being low-income you are going to have more low-income people.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial last week about the Congressional Budget Office’s report that Obamacare will cause 2.5 million workers to abandon the workforce in the next decade because they can now stay home instead of working to pay for health insurance, stated, “Some of the giddier liberals extol Obamacare for “liberating” workers from the adult responsibility of earning a living.


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