Friday, November 20, 2015
Billy Long: We must join the world in taking ISIS head-on
We’re a compassionate nation, but our first responsibility is to protect our citizens. The Islamic State of Iran and Syria (ISIS) has taken credit for and proudly boasted about being responsible for the murders of over 450 innocent individuals in three recent and varied attacks. From car bombings in Beirut to the downing of a commercial airliner over the Sinai Peninsula and the coordinated attacks in Paris, it’s obvious that ISIS is at war with civilization.
Even before these horrendous attacks, ISIS has raped, tortured, murdered and displaced hundreds of thousands across the globe. In the past year, the world has watched in horror as the jihadist group of Islamic extremists take lives and territory while degrading the success of past American military efforts. But, the issue stretches far beyond geopolitics. This savage group has beheaded Americans and a number of others, and has gone so far as to burn alive a Jordanian soldier. Religious minorities, especially Christians, in the region have been the target of ISIS’s heinous acts, such as the February 2015 beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christian missionaries on a Libyan beach.
We must defeat ISIS and, clearly, this is a threat that we must take seriously. French authorities currently believe some of the terrorists that carried out these attacks entered their country under the guise of being a refugee. This is a wakeup call for America, showing that we must make a tough, but clear, decision with regard to accepting Syrian refugees here in our own country.
While many Syrians fleeing do so without any malicious intent, we have a primary duty to protect our own citizens here at home. I believe that we have to do everything in our power to prevent terrorist attacks on our homeland. It is all too simple for ISIS sympathizers to enter this country while posing as refugees just as they did in France. Until we can be sure that these refugees are thoroughly vetted, we cannot risk bringing them here and opening ourselves to attack. Over the course of the 18th and 19th of November, Six Syrians with false Greek passports were arrested in Honduras. What was their destination? The United States of America, of course.
In addition to concerns of terrorist attacks, assimilation is an issue that cannot be ignored. We cannot simply force pockets of refugees into communities that have vocally opposed their resettlement. Countries like Norway and Germany are concerned that they may not have vetted the thousands of Syrian refugees as well as they should have. While in Germany recently, which has now taken the precaution of shutting their once-open door to these refugees, I learned that their nation is also concerned about rigidness that can come with the assimilation of their cultures.
Since the Paris attacks, I joined 288 of my House colleagues – a veto proof majority – in voting for the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which ensures that no Syrian or Iraqi refugee may enter the U.S. until the Director of National Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security can unanimously verify that each individual isn’t a security threat. I’ve also joined with Missouri Congressional Republicans in a letter to Governor Nixon urging against refugee resettlement in Missouri and, if our state is still considered for their resettlement that everything possible be done to validate the backgrounds of these individuals prior to entry.
The attacks on Paris were horrific. However, it is important that the world learns from them. ISIS is clearly not “contained” like our President has said. We must join with the world in taking ISIS head-on, and protect our citizens the best we can in the process.