Media misrepresents the Syrian immigration issue

Reporters and refugees have an unspoken arrangement: children are to be brought forth when the cameras turn on. This benefits the refugees because their plight is advertised in greatest sympathy, and this benefits the media because it dramatizes their story and furthers their narrative.

International media broadcasts these images with the implication that the compassionate, Christian response is to allow the refugees in.  That children are experiencing hardship is an undeniable truth. As is often the case, however, we are being fed a partial truth. There is much more to the story. My role with NATO brings me frequently to Europe with the most recent trips being primarily to the Mediterranean, notably Greece and Spain. I have analyzed the issue from a multi-national perspective, interviewed allied officers, and advised partner nations on interdiction policies and procedures.  There is a perceptual gap between what is happening and what is being presented in American media.

  1. Many of the Syrian refugees are single, able-bodied young men. Rather than attempt to defend their homeland from ISIS, they have chosen instead to flee. Before the EU began letting them in, the young men were often at the border fences throwing rocks at the guards.
  2. Many of the “Syrian” refugees are not even Syrian. When news began to spread that Germany was permitting refugees, people from all over the world began to pour in and mix with the migrant waves.
  3. Most of the Syrian refugees have no documentation and we have very limited access to their government records, which means running their background checks is essentially useless. There is no plausible way to sift the wheat from the chaff. For the industrious migrant, however, the lack of documentation is easily solved: for €500 a complete package of fake documents and ID can be procured.

Perhaps most troubling is the lack of concern for our national security as expressed by media outlets and various politicians. The latent danger embedded within Islamic fundamentalism is clear and present. I do not believe that sponsoring large numbers of unknown Syrians is a safe direction for our nation.  At the same time and speaking as a father, I want to help families in need. Unlike the false dichotomy being presented by the media, there are other ways we can assist Syrian families without exposing ourselves to potential risk: my solution is for NATO to establish secure areas within Syria where the bad guys are kept out and the peace – and therefore families – stays in.

As such I support the multitude of states, including Oklahoma, in their effort to thwart the influx of Syrian refugees into the United States while leveraging our military strength as a source for good. We can implement meaningful ways to help Syrians without risking our own safety.