Much of conservative politics has become an exercise in racing to the bottom. Candidates and pundits jockey to outdo each other, often times in outrageous ways. If Ted Cruz wants to “secure the border,” then Trump wants to build a massive, trillion-dollar concrete wall. If Jeb Bush wants to give tax cuts to the richest 1%, then Ben Carson wants to give even bigger tax cuts to the richest 1%. And if Republican lawmakers want to block more Syrian refugees from coming to the United States, then it was only a matter of time before someone figured out a way to take it a step further: Deport the ones already living here.
Meet Tennessee state House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, who thinks he’s finally cracked the code.
According to Casada, the refugees already living in his state pose a serious risk to America. They have done absolutely nothing to warrant this suspicion, but Casada has a feeling in his gut. He quickly devised a plan. In an interview with The Tennessean, Casada suggested the Tennessee National Guard should be called up to forcibly (but “politely”) root out and remove any Syrian refugees before sending them back to federal immigration facilities where they can await deportation.
“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can,” said House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin, referencing refugees.
“I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.’ “
It was pointed out to Casada that not he, nor anyone in his state, have the legal authority to block refugees. The decision to take in refugees rests with the White House and President Obama has made it clear he intends to help tens of thousands of refugees find homes in the United States. Casada’s answer was simple: Ignore the federal government. “Tennessee is a sovereign state,” he said. “If the federal government is forsaking the obligation to protect our citizens, we need to act.”
Adding a bizarre twist to this story of flagrant prejudice, Tennessee doesn’t really have very many Syrian refugees to begin with. According to reports, just 30 Syrian refugees have resettled in the state out of a total of 1,601. None have been caught or even accused of engaging in terrorism. Most, if not all, the refugees are fleeing countries because of radical groups like ISIS and authoritative regimes. As Buzzfeed recently pointed out, most refugees are “survivors of violence and torture, those with severe medical conditions, and women and children.”
It’s also important to contrast the Republican Party’s wild-eyed fear over refugees with that of the French. Considering the acts of terror in Paris so recently, it would be understandable if the country gave in to fear and Islamophobia and rejected helping the fleeing refugees. Instead, France has hardened its resolve to help and its president, Francois Hollande, vowed to keep his pledge to take in up to 30,000 Syrians in the next two years.
In light of France’s compassion, Tennessee ought to be ashamed of its politicians. They are doing a disservice to the courage and generosity of many Americans. Not everyone is as afraid as they are.
Feature image via Facebook