What is worse than importing the values of the Middle East? Importing the values of the Middle East that were rejected … by the Middle East!
Unless our immigration policies change, we are now on the cusp of becoming a refuge for the world’s jihadists who claim persecution at the hands of Muslim governments that are actually taking the threat of jihad more seriously than the West. Jihadists now feel comfortable coming to the West and spreading their poison — more comfortable even than in some of their home countries. Thus, we risk bringing in not only Sharia-adherent Muslims who cluster and cultivate a long-term climate that turns America into Eurabia, but also the most hardcore elements who are already at the active phase of jihad and are emigrating just for that purpose.
Dan Cadman of the Center for Immigration Studies made a very astute supposition about the nature of terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov and potentially other Uzbek immigrants we’ve taken in recently:
[W]ith regard to Saipov, I watched a BBC new anchor interview one of their BBC Uzbek Service reporters. She made the cogent point that, while he appears to have “radicalized” in the United States, he may in fact have left Uzbekistan (a majority-Muslim country ruled by Muslims) due to the government’s program of actively monitoring mosques, preachers, and congregations because it is sharply aware that there is a strain of virulent, radical Islam that inevitably results in violence. (Ironically, some Uzbeks successfully claim refugee status based on the government’s repressive policies, even though there is clearly a basis for its security concerns.) She made the point that Saipov, if inclined toward such radical leanings, would have had to emigrate to avoid arrest, and therefore chose a country where freedom of religion is guaranteed. It’s appalling to think that one of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution would be used against us in this way, but her observations had a cogency to them that’s hard to deny.
Incidentally, the New York Times published an article yesterday chronicling the history of the Uzbek government cracking down on non-government sanctioned mosques and the growth of some of the most virulent strains of Islamic supremacism fomenting in Central Asia. As they observe, “Proselytizing by Saudi-financed groups advocated a particularly austere form of Islam,” and an outsized number of Uzbeks have joined ISIS. The Atlantic ran a similar story, noting how the Soviet-style authoritarianism in Uzbekistan is pushing its Islamists “underground and, ultimately, abroad.”
While the media is trying to bash the Uzbek government and insinuate that we shouldn’t clamp down on radical mosques here, because, in their view, it radicalizes the Islamists even more, they are stumbling across an important truth: Irrespective of whether the Uzbek government’s actions caused the radicalism or if it was bound to happen anyway, it is clear that some of the most extreme jihadists are now fleeing Muslim countries, ironically, because of these crackdowns. They are coming to the West as refugees or quasi-refugees, even though they are antithetical to the prototype of the persecuted minority we want to admit through the refugee program. What is our government doing to protect against this rising tide? We have brought in roughly 60,000 immigrants from Uzbekistan since 9/11 and thousands more from other former Soviet countries dominated by this same dynamic of a Muslim population with a secular authoritarian government. How do we know we are not bringing in their “persecuted” jihadists?
The one positive development in the Middle East and Central Asia in recent years is that the sheer savagery of jihadists has prompted a number of Muslim governments to crack down on their behavior. We are certainly seeing this in Saudi Arabia, with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman genuinely pushing systemic reforms. We’ve witnessed this dynamic in Egypt since al-Sisi has assumed power and has outlawed much of the Muslim Brotherhood agenda and imprisoned its leaders. Now we are seeing a coalition of Sunni countries going after Qatar and its Muslim Brotherhood supporters, while banishing anyone with ties to their network from their respective countries.
This is all a terrific dynamic we should encourage. There’s just one small problem. Given that we have an open border, are we going to face a paradox where these reformist governments dump all of their jihadi “refugees” onto the West? This is a serious concern, given how our government coddles the Muslim Brotherhood while these countries are outlawing them. If this is not already occurring, it’s not hard to foresee how they can use their vast connections to the existing radical communities in America through family ties to immigrate here and escape the “persecution” at the hands of governments cleaning up their mess. For example, our immigration from Egypt has steadily increased from roughly 5,000 a year in 2001 to over 12,000 a year. Over 123,000 Egyptian nationals have become legal permanent residents from 2001 through 2015. Some of that is the result of the diversity visa lottery. Given how Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi treats the radicals in his country, which is something we should celebrate, how many of them will be seeking refuge elsewhere — such as in our own neighborhoods?
America has already become the dumping ground for the world’s problems — both Islamic and non-Islamic. Recently, Trump relented and agreed to take in 1,250 of the most virulently Islamic refugees rejected by Australia.
Thus, under our current open-borders policies, the better the Middle Eastern governments become and the more other countries secure their borders, the worse our predicament will get.
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.