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Bud's Message to International Students

Discussion in 'The Swarm Lounge' started by Milwaukee, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. AE 87

    AE 87 Helluva Engineer

    You may have missed my grin at the end ;)
  2. augustabuzz

    augustabuzz Helluva Engineer


    To step away from the GT student situation and get into your points, you need to assess this as a risk evaluation. Since 9/11, as far as I know there hasn't been a single US terrorist attack caused by someone from one of the banned countries. 9/11 was committed by men from four different countries not included on the list. Boston Bombings were Chechnya-Americans. Even the Orlando shooting was an American born and raised person whose parents were from Afghanistan and were moderate Muslims. The point being that we have no previous history of people from these countries hating Americans and being a threat. In fact, by showing compassion and taking in their refugees you are generating a love for America in the people coming here. In contrast, shutting them out logically breeds hatred. You might find this naive, but I feel it shows massive paranoia to assume that some refugees are terrorists in waiting. You have to keep in mind that the FBI is going to closely monitor anyone coming into the country from these nations. The likelihood of any terroristic attacks happening here on US soil is negligible. I am more likely to die in a school shooting, so should I start advocating we kick out white men with histories of mental illness? Of course not.

    Did you forget the Somali who drove his vehicle into a crowd at The Ohio State University and then proceeded to attack the rest with a knife until a campus policeman shot him? I'm sure there are others.
    Whiskey_Clear and Milwaukee like this.
  3. GTNavyNuke

    GTNavyNuke Helluva Engineer Featured Member

    Thanks for taking the time and focus to write this up.

    I agree with your risk assessment that more open borders allow us to get far more human potential than we risk. And I agree that we have a vetting process to reasonably ensure we know who we are accepting into this country.

    There is a long ebb and flow of US immigration laws and opinions discussed in this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_immigration_to_the_United_States

    That Trump is making this such an important part of his first 100 days should be expected from what he campaigned and (electorally) won on. Elections have consequences and we are living through them.

    As to immigration requirements, I can tell you that my wife graduated from GT and is an immigrant. She got a student visa to be at GT and part of getting her green card for work in the early '80s was showing that she was in a field where she wouldn't be displacing US citizens who needed work. But she got around that by marrying me (most would now recognize that she is the only one who would do that job (tic)).
    FredJacket likes this.
  4. Whiskey_Clear

    Whiskey_Clear Banned

    Thoughtful post but way too long for me to respond to point by point. So I'll try and hit the highlights for the most part.

    As to Tech students. I honestly give Tech students no more regard than students of any other school with regard to this debate. Students in good standing with no criminal history will likely have their visa process expedited once vetting is resolved but until then, they will have to wait for the process to unfold.

    The majority of prior attacks here in the U.S. may not have come from the group of 7 nations. While understanding what has occurred is important, looking back in that manner is not necessarily the best way to prevent FUTURE attacks. That is best done by evaluating the current situation internationally and evaluating trends. And that responibilty lies solely within the purview of the executive branch; whether you agree with the current administration and current policies or not. And let me point out once again the prior administration enacted a ban on the same seven countries. Did you oppose that?

    If you think no citizens of those 7 countries hate America, and are thus no threat to cause violence here, you are indeed naive in my opinion. Your advocacy of "taking in refugees" to foster love instead of "barring them" creating hate....well that simply smacks of appeasement quite honestly and I think that is also a very naive sentiment.

    The FBI simply does not have the manpower to closely monitor even a small number of the refugees we have already granted asylum to. To believe otherwise is simple ignorance. Not to mention the Constitutional protections these refugees have once they are here which prevent many forms of surveillance without a search warrant, and thus probable cause to believe they have or are committing criminal acts. Once here it is extremely difficult to "closely monitor them." Your definition of close monitoring may be vastly different than mine however.

    As to your point on legal immigration and worth / value a potential immigrant brings. As I stated previously I support legal immigration. My prior post was in reference, primarily, to immigrants passing through Ellis Island. I was referring to things I have read but none I can source directly at the moment. In the earily 1900's though certain things were grounds to bar immigration. Disease was one, a likelihood to be unable to support oneself was another. So if a potential immigrant had currency with them that was usually not a concern. If not they could still prove they would be self sufficient if educated, skilled in a trade, etc. The laws governing all that were likely driven by some nationalist sentiments of the time. This point is probably worthy of a separate post or another thread altogether but feel free to correct me where I'm wrong. (My index finger is starting to cramp typing on my phone)

    As to the humanitarian argument, providing safe shelter for these people residing in war torn countries. In what way are they America's responsibility? Answer that please. I don't give a rat's hindquarters if you think I'm "inhumane" for not wishing to grant them unquestioned asylum. As to the leaders of any country that takes exception to this ban or any other restriction we have on immigration...Eff them. Their sorry asses can grant asylum to every "refugee" in the world their damn selves...problem solved.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
    Milwaukee likes this.
  5. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee Helluva Engineer

    Mind right.
  6. Cam

    Cam Helluva Engineer

    Thank you for the well thought out post (and I can't believe you did that on your phone...). Have a break at work, so I'll also try to address the points, but it's a similarly long post so I'll see if I can condense everything. I'll also leave out the talk on the immigration points since they don't really apply and should be its own thread. As for the Obama administration, I don't feel it's related to this specific topic, so I don't really want to touch on it. This article is a pretty good read for describing why they're different though. Obama had a specific purpose spawned by a reaction to a specific threat, the current ban is wider spread and is not in response to a specific threat. I'm not defending either, but they're not really comparable.

    I spoke with a few of my friends who have worked internships in these refugee areas to get their opinions and I'll see if I can share them to the best of my memory. I'll start by saying that they had nothing but positive things to say about the people they met. They were mostly all very educated, especially the Iraqis. Syrian engineers were fairly common, a couple doctors. There were a handful of professors as well. Families with 2 or 3 kids. Loving people. A lot of them risked everything to come to the US (some were informants for the US) and most were welcomed with open arms. All of them were outrageously grateful to enter the United States because they had nothing left to go home to. They live primarily in pocketed communities with other refugees while they try to get back on their feet. They were really no different than anyone else you know and lived very similar lives to ours before the war. And don't be mistaken, the vetting process was very difficult even before the current administration. They are monitored to a degree and their activities are evaluated for warning signs. There is a lot of paperwork involved. The barrier for entry into the country was very high when one friend worked there two years ago. You don't have unquestioned asylum, we have been very good about only granting admittance to those who don't pose a threat.

    To continue on the last point, I'll talk a bit about why I think it's paranoia to feel like we are in danger. I'll try to explain it using some numbers since it'll show my argument on risk analysis. According to this article your chances of being killed by a refugee on American soil is about 1 in 3.64 billion. They stretch back as far as 1975, so it's understanding to dismiss it since there are ever changing world politics. So, let's focus on the start of the Arab Spring (2010), or what preceded the current Syrian Civil War (and other major conflicts), and do our own calculations so we can adjust for today's current political climate. Someone above did point out that there was one incident of a Somalian in 2016 who did injure 11 Americans late last year (subsequently killed on site). It was reported that he came into the United States in 2014. So, here's where you have to look at risk analysis. You have about 28,000 Muslim refugees who entered the country in 2014. We have one terrorist incidence perpetuated from one person out of a group of 28,000. That's 0.0035% of Muslim refugees brought in 2014 posing a threat to American people. You have 27,999 people who have (so far) lived perfectly peaceful lives and have moved here legally and have helped contribute to our nation. People who curse that man for threatening their status in this country. If we're looking at the entirety of Muslim refugees, we are around 280,000 since 2002 and 140,000 since 2011 (or the Arab Spring). Again, accounting for the entirety of terrorist attacks in the last 16 years from non-Americans, you're looking at about 99.997% of refugees being totally harmless and generating a lot of good for our country, its culture, and its economy (especially in the tech sector). If you get into the millions of immigrants in the US from predominantly Muslim countries, your percentage is shrinking even further. When you get into how they are generally localized to certain areas and stay within communities, you are seeing an exponential shrink to numbers around that 1 in a billion risk from before since you likely won't ever see them. If you think any of my sources or math is incorrect, please let me know. But even changing the number of terrorists in that 28,000 to ten over the next decade (although unlikely) still gives you 99.964% of people living peacefully. The point is that your fear of either you or anyone you know getting attacked is completely unfounded and it's impossible to argue against it statistically.

    Now it gets into more of a philosophical argument. What's the value of a human life? Is the life of a countryman more valuable than that of a foreigner? I'd argue that. If it comes down to the life of an American or the life of a Syrian of equal "value," then you choose the American. What about one American to 5 Syrians? Sure, you could argue that, but it's a lot more difficult to justify. What about one life to 1000? Or 28,000? 280,000 or over a million? This is what I am getting at. Is it worth the risk to bring in refugees if they pose a minuscule amount of threat to our people? Absolutely. The benefits are far, far greater than the potential negatives. You are helping out a group of people that number the population of Orlando. If the biggest act of terrorism by a refugee on American soil we have seen in the last 16 years was a man injuring 11 people with his car, then it's ludicrous to say that providing a new home for the other 279,999 was a mistake. You have to look at the balance.

    Lastly, I'll address the argument of why WE need to take them. You're right in that if they aren't admitted to the US, they'll likely go elsewhere and our chance of increased terrorist attacks goes down by about a thousandth of a percent. However, we are the lone world superpower. Whether we like it or not, we have a responsibility to set an example for the rest of the world. We have the resources and capabilities to accommodate refugees, so we should take them in. This then bleeds into world politics. John McCain himself had to contact Australia to assure them that we are still on good terms. You can go ahead and say "eff em," but that is a very short-sighted and naive way of looking at it. You have to maintain these relationships with other countries and part of that is sharing a burden of taking in refugees. It's how politics work. When we need a trade agreement or some sort of negotiation with Australia again, what's stopping them from saying "How do we know you won't just back out of this like you did the last deal? You're an unreliable ally." These are century long alliances that are being tested because of what boils down to fear mongering and paranoia as a result of Islamophobia. We're better than that.
    alentrekin and GTNavyNuke like this.
  7. Whiskey_Clear

    Whiskey_Clear Banned

    It's completely legitimate to question the President's motives for the ban. Arguing both Presidents' bans aren't exactly the same or done for the same reasons is as well. What can't be argued logically is the power of the executive branch to do so. The law is pretty clear on that power whether one agrees or disagrees with those executive decisions. The 9th circuit is way out of bounds once again.

    You don't feel like America is in realistic danger from possible refugee infiltration and attacks. Many Americans disagree with your opinion which is a big reason Trump won office. Bottom line is still this, the executive branch is responsible for determining our risks and taking actions to limit them. I'll take risk assessments from military and national intel agencies over your math, that is related to prior attacks, all day long.

    (On a side note hypothetically. If ISIS did manage to infiltrate and carry out an attack on U.S. soil killing 100 Americans, what would our chances of being killed by same going forward be? Still pretty negligible statistically I'd imagine. That math would do little for the families of those 100 souls)

    I'm glad your friends had positive interactions with refugees. I'm sure most are probably decent people and some may be wonderful. My worry is of course primarily focused on those that are neither decent nor wonderful. I have buds that were over there that have come away with an overall differing position than your friends however. I would champion refugees who assisted our military with aid or intel. Doesn't mean I'd champion all other refugees.

    As to your world super power responsibilities argument. Our nation's responsibilities are to our citizens first and foremost always, or should be. We can't even balance our own budget currently and the deficits we are building are insane. So I reject your position on that note until we can get our own house in order.

    As to your take on world politics, true to a degree, but..... the rest of the world needs America more than we need them, Australia included. No other country spends more on international aid than we do, but it's never enough is it? So if the Prime Minister of Australia wants to take his football home over a disagreement regarding refugees....piss on him.


    Above is an example of Australia's desire for America to pay for Australian generosity. The AUS PM can open the doors to his own country if he wishes but instead prefers to have America do so. Win - win for Auzland.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  8. Cam

    Cam Helluva Engineer

    That's fair for you to take the assessment of the government over my own. They're much, much more intimate to the situation than I am and, frankly, it's not my academic field. I'm just an amateur with an opinion. I assure you I have no allegiance to either party, but I do question the current administration's motives. The ban itself causes more harm than good, in my opinion. I would be more comfortable with it if it included additions that people who are currently deemed non-threats by our government (current students, current employees, long-established families, etc.) have the opportunity to still come and go as they please. Additionally, while the executive branch absolutely has control over this situation, we still have checks and balances to make sure than no one branch makes decisions that overstep their bounds. If I understand correctly, the 9th Circuit rejected it for the same reasons I have stated: the fear of a potential attack is unreviewable without proof (i.e. no history of ill will toward Americans). It should go by without problem once the administration releases proof of potential for attacks (which is why Obama's ban passed), but that might force them to divulge information they don't want to release.

    You will have to allow me to be skeptical of the interactions your buddies have had though. I am assuming they were military affiliated? If so, they were over there with the express purpose of being involved in a war zone. The type of people you interact with in that area are going to most definitely be ones with ill intent towards Americans. Same as you have the right to excuse my friends' anecdotes because they interact with people who have fully adopted America as the new country to raise their children. They're really two completely different sets of people.

    I will state that I do fear for an attack that might causes the death of a 100+ people. It's always a possibility (even if just a small one). But we cannot let ourselves be governed by fear. Similar to your hypothetical, what if we admitted another 280,000 refugees over the next ten years and not only was there not an attack, but the people who came in were given access to education and resources that allowed them to develop into fine people who serve the public? Doctors, engineers, scientists, etc. Neither one of us can predict the future, but the reason for my risk analysis is to show why I believe my hypothetical is much more likely.

    Anyway, I think this is a good stopping point and I am fine with letting others continue on the discussion (or letting the thread die). Thanks for the discussion, Whiskey. It's always good to view issues from multiple perspectives, helps you get a full picture. I'll finish by saying I completely understand your side of the argument and I am not saying it is wrong. All I ask for anyone is to not view this as an "us against them" scenario. There is a lot of gray area, just like in most controversial topics. There are genuinely wonderful people from those seven countries and there are some that are horrible. Just the same as there are wonderful Americans and horrible Americans. We're all just people. If you want to get in any final remarks, then feel free.
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  9. Whiskey_Clear

    Whiskey_Clear Banned

    FWIW I don't think we are actually all that far apart in perspectives @Cam. We have differences sure but likely not separated by wide gulfs.

    Trump's rhetoric during the campaign is part of this mess. But it also probably helped get him elected so there is that angle as well. You reap what you sow however. If he wasn't so bombastic people would likely be willing to grant him more leeway (not the Dem party so much but the more independent minded would I think).

    I still will argue the 9th Circuit is way off base. But that will get resolved one way or another.

    My military friends don't say all Iraqis (Iraqis are who most interacted with primarily) are bad. They would likely champion a few for asylum themselves. And they didn't just interact with combatives. They also interacted with "commoners" in building projects, wells and such. But I think most would be a bit wary in granting blank asylum to large portions of those populations. My bud that survived the "Blackhawk Down" incident would probably be even more reluctant with regard to Somalis. I'd have to ask directly to be certain but I have a strong suspicion I'm correct on that one.

    I agree there are many fine foreigners from those seven nations who would make positive, some even great, additions to our country. My inlaws are refugees. My wife would be a refugee if but born a couple weeks sooner. She was in fact born in a refugee camp here in the states.

    I see far more risk in granting asylum to refugees from the Middle East currently than any other groups in our history. From the group of seven and from countries deemed "more friendly" to us.

    I also admit I'm a bit worried about how our welfare affects immigration in general today compared to historically. A hundred years ago immigrants came here for a new life and were willing to create that new life through hard work. And they did help make America great. My immigrant father in law is one of the hardest working men I've ever known. Worked three full time jobs for a while with an hour of sleep a day. I can't even comprehend that honestly. He and his wife raised six very successful kids. I see the value in immigration. But I fear this story may be less likely to play out this way today, in high percentages, than it has in the past. Hopefully I'm wrong but I just think welfare creates less incentive for some to strive to high levels of success.

    I've enjoyed the discourse even though we don't exactly see eye to eye. The two of us could likely agree to an amicable compromise on this issue. Too bad our nation's leaders are not likely able to. Thus the political pendulum will continue to swing back and forth.
    GTNavyNuke and Cam like this.
  10. alentrekin

    alentrekin Helluva Engineer

    Took this thread as an excuse to do some research on this. Feel free to fact check or otherwise question; while I am a lawyer for low-income folks, the immigration overlay is new to me. FWIW, I am amazed at the communication between those who are so far "across the aisle" from each other.

    Since '96 (Personal Responsibility Act) immigrants have generally been excluded from federal welfare programs unless...
    They are "qualified aliens" AND have lived in the US for five years.
    OR were relocated under special humanitarian programs.*
    Of course, there are exceptions, and states will be states. (See e.g. this 2014 map of fed/state and this 2012 report on state supplements)

    But generally, federal welfare programs...
    1. are not available for non-qualified immigrants,
    2. are available only after 5 years for most qualified immigrants.
    3. but are sometimes available to refugees and others relocated due to humanitarian programs.

    Here's what 2 & 3 can apply for:
    1. Relocation assistance: one time grant of $1850 per refugee.
    2. TANF: 2017 MAX for a family of three is $585/mo (lasts 5 years, includes job seeking bonuses)
    3. Food Stamps / SNAP: 2017 MAX for family of three is $511/mo (Avg of about $1.40 per person per meal. source.)
    4. SSI: aka disability for those who are unable to work.
    5. Medicaid/CHIP
    See pg. 18 for refugee entitlement timelines or this summary flowchart.

    IMO, the draw to the US is not the welfare programs.

    *some refugees, Laotian Vietnam collaborators, and since VAWA in'00, victims of sexual trafficking/violence
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  11. GTNavyNuke

    GTNavyNuke Helluva Engineer Featured Member

    Good stuff here from all. I've been looking at history trying to put all of this into context. It seems that the pendulum swings back and forth between immigration and deportation in the US.

    One thing I didn't know/remember is that during the Great Depression, the US (Hoover and FDR) mass deported 500,000 to 2,000,000 people to Mexico. Many were US citizens. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Repatriation

    "While I don’t think (please God) we are anywhere close to implementing a policy as draconian as Herbert Hoover’s was in the late 1920s, it would behoove us to remember his Mexican Repatriation, by which somewhere between 500,000 and 2 million American residents of Mexican ancestry were forcibly returned to Mexico. Many of these deportees were actually US citizens. And this was done without due process. I kid you not. By the way, this program was continued by Franklin D. Roosevelt for another four years. This program is a dark blot on American history, one that I think was even worse than the Japanese internment camps of World War II. The expulsion was carried out in the name of “protecting American jobs” and putting America first; and then it was followed up with policies that were designed to make America productive again, including the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which was a contributing factor in the Great Depression."

    Here's the link for a good article with the above quote and the potential ramifications of the Border Tax. The guy writing it is a lifelong Republican.

    alentrekin likes this.
  12. bwelbo

    bwelbo Helluva Engineer

    A couple facts:
    * While the number of actual terrorist attacks from these countries is small, the risk is proven to be high - nearly 75 refugees from these countries have been arrested for terrorist activities. I think its a reasonable debate whether or not we want to be proactive or just wait until someone actually launches an attack and then go arrest them.
    Source: http://cis.org/vaughan/study-reveals-72-terrorists-came-countries-covered-trump-vetting-order
    * A high majority of refugees (especially from the middle east) are still on food stamps, still on Medicaid, are earning less than $10/hour on average, and the majority cannot speak English - several years after having arrived.
    Source: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/orr/orr_annual_report_to_congress_fy_2014_signed.pdf
    See pages:
    * 104 for English proficiency. Note that there appears to be little to no effort to learn the langauge.
    * 107 for earnings (general)
    * 111 for broad benefits summary
    * 113 for SNAP benefits
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  13. Whiskey_Clear

    Whiskey_Clear Banned


    I've known many European countries have taken in very large numbers of refugees in the last few years. I haven't really looked into it on a country by country basis or researched any of this regarding Sweden. Sweden seems to have become a focus of our media recently :cigar:

    Came across the above article and it was an interesting read. Buyer beware though as I'm unfamiliar with the editor that wrote the original piece and am unfamiliar with his paper and political leanings, if any, of same.
  14. alentrekin

    alentrekin Helluva Engineer

    I'll have to bite...
    *From page 104: "After five years in the United States, 55 percent of 2009 entrants spoke English well or very well, compared with 13 percent at the time of arrival." See table II-14 "English Language Proficiency and Acquisition, by Year of Arrival" on page 102.

    And from page 114, on effort: "Seventy percent of refugees who have been in the country for less than a year attended or were currently attending an English Language Training program. While 10 percent of refugees enter the U.S. with a college or university degree (including a medical degree) and 36 percent enter with a high school or technical degree, an additional 18 percent of those over age 16 continue their education upon arrival."
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