These are my daughters. If you attack Middle Easterners fleeing persecution, you attack them. Their mother came here from Iran after the revolution, looking for a safer life. America let her in despite our conflict with Iran, because American principles are more important than our fears and disputes. If you don’t believe our principles always come first, then you don’t believe in America.

Make no mistake. When you attack immigrants, you’re attacking America. We’re a nation of immigrants. Of all races. Of all creeds. Anyone who doesn’t believe that, is welcome to leave and find another country. Because if you turn your back on immigrants in need, if you turn your back on freedom of religion, you understand less about what it means to be an American than every immigrant who ever stepped onto our soil.

Being born an American is nothing to be proud of. Being born an American is easy; any idiot can get born here. Immigrants and refugees earned the right to come here. Nobody is more American than the person who came here fleeing repression and seeking freedom.

If you want to be proud of being an American, then you have to support American ideals. Speak out against those who seek to limit speech, limit religion, or turn away people in need. Don’t mute what they say. Don’t let it go for the sake of friendship or family. Speak out.

Silence isn’t just death. Silence is blood on our hands. The blood of those we turned away. And the blood of a country that fell, not because of war or terrorism, but because we were afraid to trust the very principles that made it strong.

#syria #refugees #freedom #wearebetterthanthis

68 thoughts on “These are my daughters.”

  1. OK, my mother came from Germany after WW2.Properly vetted as I’m sure your wife and kids were.This is what America is about,no argument.But when you want to let in a group of people,about 80% male,mid twenties, without proper background investigations,that is where I draw the line.Sorry,I have my own children and grandchildrens safety to worry about.They are already having issues in Europe with rapes,murders and other criminality with the present bunch of Syrians.Sorry,I’m more interested in the preservation of my country than uncontrolled Immigration.So be it.

  2. Christy Sandhoff But I am saying that helping refugees far outweighs the risk of admitting some who are bad. There is no such thing as perfect safety, but coming to this country as a refugee is an insane way to try to infiltrate. Any of the Paris terrorists could have entered this country by climbing on a plane. Blocking refugees is precisely what the terrorist want is to do. After all, they want them either dead, or trapped in camps where they will turn to terrorism.

  3. I am appalled that the last writer believes the majority of refugees vetted are young men intent on revenge. How unaware he is of reality. EDIT:  To make this clear, it is Michael of the Blue Head I am speaking of.

  4. Gnotic Pasta Refugee settlement is certainly screwed up. It might help of the US actually followed international standards. But even that wouldn’t help people settle where they want.

  5. Michael McKenzie My current wife works with refugees on borders. She’s got a degree in this stuff. She knows first hand why refugees vary in age in gender depending on the situation.

    As Gnotic Pasta has pointed out. There are lots reasons why there are a lot of young men fleeing Syria. And they have nothing to do with “being military age”. Refugees vary in age and gender based on the conflict and the situation. In Syria women marry young and have children, that makes it harder for them to flee. Men marry older. The journey is extremely dangerous. It’s easier for men to flee. Men are in danger from all sides. The conflict is largely tribal. If you don’t belong to a tribe, you are a potential enemy. If you won’t fight for ISIS, they’ll kill you. If you won’t fight for the Syrian government, they’ll kill you. So men have far more reason to flee than women. In countries where rape is endemic, or where there is a legitimate ability to join a resistance movement, the situation would be reversed. There’s no sinister reason here. It’s normal.

    Two to three years of background investigation isn’t enough? How long is? That’s a tired excuse. Other countries are welcoming these same refugees with open arms. Canada has no problem letting them in. This is just politicians who are playing on your fears.

    But finally.

    “I’m more interested in preservation of my country”.

    No, I’m sorry, you’re not. And in saying that you missed the entire message in what I said. What you’re preserving is not America. It’s not a country your grandchildren will want to live in. You want to preserve the country that banned the Chinese, imprisoned the Japanese, and turned away the Jews. All in the name of “safety”.

    You’re interested in creating a level of safety and security which isn’t possible. You’re playing into the hands of the politicians who want power and the terrorists who want to destroy us. If terrorists want to enter this country they’ll fly in with fake (or real!) passports. They won’t sit in a refugee camp for three years hoping they’ll get assigned to America (as Gnotic Pasta says, they don’t get to choose) and pass the background checks.

    And the next time someone tells you about some place where rapes increased because of immigrants, or there was some huge problem, ask to see the numbers, not the anecdotes. Ask if those numbers are any different than any other place where tens of thousands of people are told they have to live on assistance and can’t work and they wouldn’t be allowed to build a future for their family, and that there was no telling where in the world, if anywhere, they would ever be able to go? These are normal people looking to build normal lives. But you don’t want to let them.

  6. I’m first generation American on my father’s side (he was born in Russia) and second generation on my mother’s side (German). The relief expressed in my grandfather’s memoirs when he and his family arrived, safe, in New York resonates especially now in the face of increasing violence around the world.

    And yet, in our eagerness to save and protect, to provide shelter for those fleeing violence, we need to figure out a way to protect and preserve that haven.

    Or, none of us will have a refuge.

  7. Mary Ritenour I agree. And I’ve seen no evidence that we aren’t already doing that. It’s extremely hard for a refugee to settle here. The waiting period is years. Other countries take far more people. We could also take more if we had programs like Canada (and like we have had in the past) where individuals can sponsor families. We have friends who settled in Montreal that way. The problem isn’t that we aren’t being careful. It’s that we’re being needlessly afraid. How many people have to die, or spend their lives, and their children’s lives, living in refugee camps so that we can be 100% safe?

  8. Agreed. We could do better.  But I also think that its important to recognize and acknowledge that there are those who would take advantage of such programs (or enter the country under other programs, like student visas, or exchange programs) that do NOT have good intentions. 

    A comprehensive look at ALL immigration programs is warranted; easing some, tightening others.

    My grandfather and his family was sponsored by a family here in America. I know of other refugee families who have been sponsored by churches here. We need more of that.

  9. Michael McKenzie Lady Liberty knows what the answer is.

    “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  10. Mary Ritenour the claim that each successive round of refugees and immigrants will destroy the nation happens at least twice per generation.

    We are a nation of refugees. We always have been. Personally I’ll open my door to anyone who wants to come and take part in the rights and responsibilities of living here.

  11. Gnotic Pasta My understanding is that UNHCR officials ask refugees if they want to settle in a given country. With the recent change in government here, Canada informed the UNHCR that we’re willing to take 25,000 almost immediately. The UNHCR incorporated that offer into their interview process to identify refugees who would be interested in coming here.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/syrian-refugees-not-keen-to-move-to-canada-immediately-ottawa-says/article27561756/

  12. Jim Douglas It can be a tough transition. And if you go to Quebec (as my wife’s friends did), you have to learn French as well. Never mind the travails of getting into a camp where you can get placement. They paid to get smuggled out of one camp in Thailand to another in Malaysia when it became clear that there were no more settlements taking place from the Thai camps.

  13. True, the French thing can be daunting. I don’t speak French, and I got along fine in English as a visitor in Montreal, but permanent residents would be expected to learn French. Realistically, the biggest cities are best equipped to absorb refugees, so a large percentage will go to the three biggest cities (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver). The problem is so unbelievably large; I don’t expect that finding 25,000 people willing to settle in Canada out of a pool of 4 million will be a significant challenge.

  14. Lol. So many of our ancestors came through Ellis Island. 

    My Grandmother tried hard to be accepted into the DAR, because it was a big deal in Aberdeen, WA.   She only made it into the DUV ( Daughters of the Union Veterans). My mom did the whole ancestry thing and found out that yes, indeed, we were here for the Revolution. But we were on the wrong side. Daughters or British Veterans?

    Damn. I don’t care. I’m an American. My dads’ parents spoke Swedish in their home. A swedish maid and a lumber-worker. They had a dirt farm.  My Dad went to college on the GI bill.

    Those people worked so damned hard to make my life easy.

    Who am I to deny these new people  ]the dream that my grandparents had?  I can’t do that. 

  15. The Muslim religion peaches death to all who don’t believe in their ways in other words most of America so either give up the Muslim religion and become an American I’ll stay the hell out

  16. Great post, Kee Hinckley , and a valuable debate here! A lot of what was said is as well true for Europe, and especially Germany: We had people from all over the world coming here since the early 1960’s, but German governments of all kinds kept saying, we’re not an immigration country, everybody who comes here will be returning home rather soon. What foolishness is this! The results are “parallel societies”, people living here for more than 30 years, still unable to speak, or understand the language – what better conditions could any extremist and terrorist ask for? Now, with the refugees who keep coming, German government for the first time declared Germany an immigration country, and at last measures are taken to really welcome and accomodate these people: Now it’s our resposibility to give them the opportunity to understand the principles that make our country, like the US or Canada, a place worth fleeing to – respect, freedom, and equality, we can’t expect people to live by these principles if we don’t show them that we do !

    On a sidenote: I’m working with juvenile refugees who come here without parents or family – some of them left their homes when they were just the age of my own little boy – alone, on their own. If we’d turn our backs on those kids as a nation, that wouldn’t be a nation worth saving.

  17. W J Bull How do you know that? Have you studied Islam? Have you been to a mosque? Have you talked to Muslims? Have you read what Jefferson, Madison, and out founding fathers said about Islam? Have you read what our constitution says about religion?

  18. Thanks for this, Kee Hinckley​. We have many refugees in the Village these days. Almost 400 in a population of less than 4000. We’re doing what we can to help them and take care of them. This is my answer to callous, frightened outsiders: https://goo.gl/qRBmD7 Jeedah’s parents may be refugees, but she is not. And never will be.

  19. Michael McKenzie so, an Irish terrorist (as all Irish are wont to be, just as well as papists and drunks) preaching to stop the dangerous immigrants from coming over.

    I would have recommended that you’re thrown back to Ireland, but truth to be told, we don’t want you here, bigot.

  20. Michael McKenzie If you are truly concerned for the welfare of your children and grandchildren; there is a huge list of existing, real threats to their safety, health and overall well being that threaten their status right now; rather than grand imaginings.

    They breathe poison air and are more likely to die in a car wreck than ever encounter a terrorist.

    The funds for an adequate education so that they my grow up within the American dream has been pilfered by greed. Grownups that should have clear thoughts and good intentions let the thrill of the adrenaline rush from hate speech, personal superiority and dark fantasies are making moves to overtake almost ever aspect of this nation. None of them Muslim and none of them care anymore for you or your family than the length of time it takes for you to cast a vote or look the other way.

    If you truly care for your offspring; these are the real threats you should be fighting agianst.

  21. Mirosław Baran your a special kinda stupid evidenced by your post.If you read mine,my mom was from Germany, and properly vetted.That’s all I ask them to do to the Syrians.I’m not against immigration and stated that.My last name is Scottish not Irish..If you read my post and saw what it said and did not read it for what you thought it said,you could have figured it out.Yup you are a special kinda stupid for sure.

  22. Michael McKenzie my great grandfather was from Germany, came in 1912. Properly vetted. Married a woman from a very old Bostonian family.

    In late January of 1942, the FBI knocked on the door of his Boise home where he had finally settled. They hauled off a violin maker and put him in internment camps for the duration of the war.

    You are the special kind of stupid. To think that this sort of thing is acceptable. Tell me, how did most of these people wind up losing their homes?

    Oh yeah, that’s right. We invaded Iraq on lies, never left Afghanistan, and destabilized the whole area. Crazies love a power vacuum. The Daesh are President GW Bush’s chickens coming home to rest.

    If you are a Christian, which I rather doubt from your lack of compassion, I’d suggest a re-read of the parable of Jesus known as The Good Samaritan.

  23. J Stone​ sorry don’t buy the leftist talking points.Where is poison air in the US?Education system?Education system has become a jobs program for the So called inteligencia, money goes to pay for the bureaucracy instead of to the classroom. American manufacturing has been pushed overseas due to over regulation.No ,one of the biggest problems is an overburden of Govt.But thanks for the telling me I don’t care for my family because I don’t agree with you.Lots of hubris from you.

  24. Kee Hinckley oh, there was nothing personal, I just tried a little bit of stereotyping and got a reply I expected. No further engagements are needed nor expected.

    (“Properly vetted German”, heh. They might want to check how the already settled waves of immigrants treated the newly coming ones, they could also read a bit on the gender/age lineup of all immigrant waves to US – they could’ve been for a surprise there.)

  25. Michael McKenzie If two to three years of vetting isn’t enough, nothing ever will be. There’s no such thing as perfect safety. If we applied the standards to citizens living here that we apply to those entering, we’d be living in an empty country.

    It’s great that your European ancestors were able to come here legally. My first wife had to marry a friend to stay here after college. Her sister worked here illegally for years until Reagan’s amnesty program. Her half-sister was here illegally and didn’t know it until she was 18; the CIA had lost the paperwork when they moved her family here. It took over eight years to make it possible for their legally blind mother to come here. We don’t make it easy to be a refugee or an immigrant.

  26. Michael McKenzie I did not say you don’t care for your family in any way.

    I merely pointed out that there are actually more immanent threats.

    Your response has shown all here who you are and your addiction to anger adrenalin; which negates anything further you have to say until you can converse like a rational adult.

  27. Michael McKenzie Fracking. Oil spills. Coal haze and days unsafe to go outside because Midwest coal floated over New England cities. I’m not imagining those things.

    I could say more on your other issues, but let’s end this here. It’s off topic. No, you didn’t start that, I know, but it’s going further off topic and I’ll delete posts if it continues.

    Let’s stick to the issue at hand. Saving the lives of the refugees who have made this country great generation after generation.

  28. J Stone​ once again, your hubris pretends to know what I believe,how I should think,speak,write and you’re judgemental. I’m not rational because I don’t agree with you and I’m not an adult?.Difference between yourself and I is,I see you and I just having a disagreement, no more no less.You see me a wrong and an enemy to be marginalized. So be it.Have a nice day

  29. J Stone Thank you.

    Although I’d just like to say that what I really admire about them is how smart and articulate they are. I’m very proud of everything they’ve accomplished.

  30. Fabulous post. Fabulous photograph Kee Hinckley.  I am so glad so many people are speaking out. What strikes me most about this photograph is the obvious love between the three people in it. Born of many things no doubt. Every family deserves a chance at that kind of happiness, security…safety…

  31. W J Bull If we banned every religion practiced by extremist groups who commit terror, we’d have no religions left. No, not even Buddhism.

    Okay. Maybe the Quakers and the Jains. 🙂

    You’re asking the wrong question. The question isn’t “are most terrorists Muslim?” The question is “are most Muslims terrorists?” And with 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, the answer is emphatically, “No.” Not that the answer to the first question is clear either. It depends on when and where you are.

  32. Kee Hinckley​​ please see my letter (posted in g+) to my US Rep Cheri Bustos(D-IL13) who voted with the TeaOP to deny the refugees. In it I state that American Liberty is not a walled garden, but, that as a nation we have pledged it to the world. 

  33. That we commit to that liberty for others, not just for ourselves, even if we are threatened with death. That is America—not just paying the military to be our mercenaries, while we cower behind the robot warriors, but that we breathe the air of Liberty and bleed the color of Freedom for those who seek it, not just for our own.

  34. Peter Fraterdeus I agree with your comments except one. Calling our soldiers mercenaries is…well, there is a lot wrong with that. I don’t know anyone who served for the paycheck, because it isn’t even enough for a family to live.

  35. Rugger Ducky​ thanks. I agree that many of those who volunteer to serve and the veterans are severely underappreciated by the society that they serve. However my point is that the US taxpayer seems to feel that having paid for the military, their only purpose is to secure the walled garden and to protect the private interests of the oligarchy.

  36. Your words on immigrants and refugees are so eloquent and true. I am glad to see that some souls in the USA are still in tune with the Great Spirit and with the higher values that have made America great. Salutations!

  37. Some people love nobody. Some love themselves only. Most people love their family. Some people’s love extends to their community and country. The greatest love extends to all of humanity. It includes everybody.

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