Culture

When We Fail to Use Reason

If we knew that there was a deadly strain of Ebola coming to the United States from a country in West Africa, I wonder how many people would say, “let it come, we are the United States.” I venture that not many people would be that arrogant or foolish. Now, if we put a halt on immigration from that West African nation until the refugees could be tested, very few people would challenge the halt of refugees.

Yet, we know that ISIS has infiltrated Europe and has long term plans to do the same in the United States. One Syrian operative has claimed that more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen have been smuggled into western European nations and hidden among innocent refugees. Americans become outraged when a terrorist gunmen walks into a bar, theatre, or restaurant and uses his AK-47 to kill dozens of people. Immediately, there is a call for justice and we hunt down the terrorist and either execute or deport him or her. But the time to stop the terrorist is not after he or she has killed or reaped havoc on innocent people. The time to stop the terrorist is before they enter the United States. We know that it is not possible to stop everyone but I feel that we as a country have to do something to protect our people.

I have not talked to many people who feel that we need to cease the immigration of all refugees from the Arabic nations, but some reasonable vetting process must be put in place to make sure that we are doing everything we can to admit peaceful, law abiding refugees into this country. Whether this process takes 30 days or 90 days, immigration should resume once a reasonable process has been set in place.

The current crisis stranding many innocent people in airports is sadly unfortunate and should be corrected as soon as possible. The thinking behind the Executive Order that created this mess was not to leak any advance notice of what was coming and head off a rush of people trying to enter the United States knowing that some of these people rushing in could be suspect.

A second issue that is being addressed that requires the use of reason is the situation at the Mexican/U.S. border. We know that not all people trying to illegally enter the United States are perfect citizens. Many have been convicted of crimes involving drugs and human trafficking. Many have already been deported from the United States and sent back to Mexico. Yet, I agree, that amongst these criminals, there are good people seeking a better place to live and an opportunity to make a living. I am not sure that building a wall is the answer but we have to make some attempt to stop the flood of undesirables trying to enter the United States.

The volume of drugs being smuggled over the border from Mexico in any given year is in the area of $18 to $39 billion dollars. The market in the United States that these drugs are supplying is in the range of $100 billion dollars. According to the Government Accountability Office, the border patrol seized over $65 million dollars in illicit cash leaving this country in 2010. Whether it is a wall or some other form of enforcement, we have to use reason to stop this illicit drug trade and the proceeds flowing back into Mexico.

Reason and logic are tough when it involves people but we do have to do something or no one will be safe in this country. We already have incarcerated over 25% of the world’s prison population with a majority of the people being incarcerated having been involved in the drug trade. Refugees do deserve a better future but the situation with our borders is critical and requires a reasonable approach even if it takes some time.


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About the author

Donald Wittmer

DONALD WITTMER is a husband, father, grandfather, and business executive with over forty years experience. His professional experience has included service as Vice-President of Sales for National City Bank in Cleveland, Ohio; auditor for Daimler Chrysler Corporation; and Fiscal Agency Manager for the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati's Xavier University and his M.A. in business management from Central Michigan University. While at the Fed, he received certification in bank operations from the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

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