Amid the hysteria over this prudent pause in refugee admissions from seven countries whose principal export is dynamite vests, it has been indignantly claimed that it’s illegal for our immigration policies to discriminate on the basis of religion.
This is often said by journalists who are only in America because of immigration policies that discriminated on the basis of religion.
For much of the last half-century, Soviet Jews were given nearly automatic entry to the U.S. as “refugees.” Entering as a refugee confers all sorts of benefits unavailable to other immigrants, including loads of welfare programs, health insurance, job placement services, English language classes, and the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after only five years.
Most important, though, Soviet Jews were not required to satisfy the United Nations definition of a “refugee,” to wit: someone fleeing persecution based on race, religion or national origin. They just had to prove they were Jewish.
This may have been good policy, but let’s not pretend the Jewish exception was not based on religion.
If a temporary pause on refugee admissions from seven majority-Muslim countries constitutes “targeting” Muslims, then our immigration policy “targeted” Christians for discrimination for about 30 years.
Never heard a peep from the ACLU about religious discrimination back then!