Archive for the ‘Asylum seekers’ category

Sessions Calls on Congress to End Abuse of Asylum Process

October 12, 2017

Sessions Calls on Congress to End Abuse of Asylum Process, Washington Free Beacon, October 12, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions / Getty Images

“Individuals who wanted to enter illegally, and individuals who had hired smugglers, were aware of the fact that if they said the words ‘credible fear’ the odds are that they would be released and that they’d be allowed to continue into the United States.”

The result of the Obama administration guidance was a skyrocketing rate of credible fear exception applicants.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday called for Congress to swiftly pass policy proposals from the Trump administration that would help rectify abuses of the asylum process.

Sessions addressed the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the administration of America’s immigration courts.

“The immigration laws that Congress has enacted are some of the most generous in the world,” Sessions said. “Indeed, we will soon reach the highest level of non-native born Americans in our history.”

However, a failure to properly enforce immigration laws has resulted in an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. One of the ways by which said aliens take advantage of the immigration system is through so-called “credible fear” claims for asylum seekers, Sessions said.

The Department of Homeland Security uses a process called “expedited removal” to remove certain immigrants without a full hearing or the laborious process used in more complicated immigration cases. Exceptions are made for illegal immigrants who claim to have a “credible fear” of persecution in his or her country of origin, who are allowed to avoid the expedited removal process and proceed to a full immigration court hearing.

“This is an important exception,” Sessions said. “We have a generous asylum policy that is meant to protect those who, through no fault of their own, cannot co-exist in their home country no matter where they go because of persecution based on fundamental things like their religion or nationality. Unfortunately, this system is currently subject to rampant abuse and fraud.”

Under the credible fear procedure, an asylum seeker has a preliminary interview, which may then make him eligible for a subsequent formal hearing to grant asylum. Historically, the ashylum seeker was detained while awaiting the hearing, unless the would-be asylee explicitly requested parole.

That changed in 2009, when the Obama administration issued new guidance that made the consideration for parole automatic. What that meant in practice is that asylum seekers were no longer detained, but were all-but-automatically released into the population after their interview—meaning they only sometimes showed up to their subsequent formal hearing.

“This is a pretty easy way into the United States,” explained Andrew Arthur, a former federal immigration judge and Resident Fellow in Law and Policy for the Center for Immigration Studies. “Individuals who wanted to enter illegally, and individuals who had hired smugglers, were aware of the fact that if they said the words ‘credible fear’ the odds are that they would be released and that they’d be allowed to continue into the United States.”

The result of the Obama administration guidance was a skyrocketing rate of credible fear exception applicants.

In 2009, the DHS reported doing around 5,000 credible fear reviews. By 2016, that number reached 94,000. In 2009, around 4,000 asylum seekers were placed in removal proceedings; in 2016, that number is more than 73,000. At the border, some 3,000 people sought credible fear exemptions in 2009; 2016 saw more than 69,000. In all, an illegal alien has an 88 percent chance of avoiding expedited removal by making a credible fear claim.

Even if asylum seekers do show up to court, litigating an asylum claim is relatively low cost, and every asylum case is required to have a full hearing.

“That’s why there’s a common, fatalistic refrain you’ll hear from immigration judges and immigration enforcement that ‘the case isn’t over until the alien wins,'” Sessions said.

The credible fear process also poses a threat to national security: Sessions noted that at least five Somali terrorists had taken advantage of the process to try to gain access to the United States.

“I think the expedited removal/credible fear process has been largely ignored up to this point,” Arthur said, “and I think that it poses a much more serious risk to the national security than even the legal immigration process does.”

Sessions called for Congress to pass President Donald Trump’s new bevy of immigration proposals, released earlier this week. Among those proposals are recommendations to tighten standards in the immigration system, increase the standard of proof in initial interviews, impose penalties for frivolous or fraudulent asylum applications, and tighten the standards for parole.

Trump also pushed for an expansion of the personnel and resources of the immigration court system, the overwhelming backlog in which Sessions has made a priority of reducing.

“The president’s proposals on asylum reform especially are crucial,” Arthur said. “There are many loopholes in the asylum system, and the president appropriately has noted that we need to elevate the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews.”

Sessions, for his part, was resolute in supporting the administration’s proposed changes.

“What we cannot do—what we must not do—is continue to let our generosity be abused,” he said. “We cannot capitulate to lawlessness and allow the very foundation of law upon which our country depends to be further undermined.”

UNHCR: Number of Venezuelans Applying for Asylum in 2017 Has Soared

July 15, 2017

UNHCR: Number of Venezuelans Applying for Asylum in 2017 Has Soared, Latin American Herald Tribune, July 15, 2017

GENEVA – Asylum requests lodged by Venezuelan citizens so far in the first half of 2017 have almost doubled the number recorded during the whole of the previous year, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

Some 27,000 Venezuelans applied for asylum in countries around the world during 2016, but in just the first six months of 2017, the figure had soared to 52,000, the UNHCR said in a statement, adding the principal destination for fleeing citizens were the United States, which received 18,300 asylum seekers, Brazil (12,960), Argentina (11,735) and Spain (4,300).

“The above figures represent only a fraction of the total number of Venezuelans who may be in need of international protection, as many do not register as asylum seekers, despite the fact that many have indicated that they fled because of violence and insecurity, as well as an inability to meet daily subsistence needs,” the UNHCR warned.

The refugee agency said that although many Venezuelans who have fled their country enjoyed temporary residence in South American countries because of a tradition of solidarity in the continent, bureaucracy and other obstacles to being granted asylum meant many remained in an irregular situation.

The UNHCR was working with authorities in neighboring Colombia, where an estimated 300,000 Venezuelans were estimated to be seeking refuge, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago (40,000) and Brazil (30,000), in order speed up registrations and provide basic humanitarian aid.

The UNHCR said it was concerned by the activities of armed groups and gangs exploiting fleeing Venezuelans.

Indigenous communities displaced along Venezuela’s border with Brazil and Colombia were also at risk of having their human rights breached, the UN body said.

The UNHCR urged all concerned States to protect the rights of Venezuelans and draw up measures to facilitate their asylum applications.

It also called on Venezuelans seeking refuge abroad to register as asylum seekers through the appropriate official channels.

Oops. First Female Afghan Fighter Pilot Pleads For Asylum In America

December 27, 2016

Oops. First Female Afghan Fighter Pilot Pleads For Asylum In America, Hot Air, JAZZ SHAW, December 27, 2016

(Nah. Obama’s America prefers jihadists. — DM)

Afghan air force 2nd Lt. Niloofar Rhmani and Capt. Aaron Marx preflight a Cessna 208 at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan. On this day, Rhmani became the first woman to fly a fixed wing combat mission. Marx hails from San Antonio, Texas, and is deployed from RAF Mildenhall, England, were he pilots KC-135R Stratotankers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ben Bloker)

Afghan air force 2nd Lt. Niloofar Rhmani and Capt. Aaron Marx preflight a Cessna 208 at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan. On this day, Rhmani became the first woman to fly a fixed wing combat mission. Marx hails from San Antonio, Texas, and is deployed from RAF Mildenhall, England, were he pilots KC-135R Stratotankers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ben Bloker)

Niloofar Rahmani has become somewhat famous in the United States. She’s the first female fighter pilot from Afghanistan and her story has been sold as proof of a new dawn of western ideals in her home country. That story fell apart somewhat this year, however. In order to complete her training she’s been serving at various bases in the United States, and during the course of this process she has asked for asylum in America because she fears returning to her home nation. This has enraged the Afghanistan government and she’s been accused of lying by her own military command. (New York Times)

Contending that her “life isn’t at risk at all,” military officials in Afghanistan have asked that the United States reject the asylum case of Capt. Niloofar Rahmani, the first female fixed-wing pilot in the Afghan Air Force.

On Thursday, Captain Rahmani revealed that she had applied for asylum this summer, saying she felt unsafe in Afghanistan, where she and her family have received death threats. For the last 15 months, she has been training at air bases in Arkansas, Florida and Texas.

This attempt to flee for her life is proving embarrassing for the United States. While it sounds like Rahmani is a capable pilot, she’s become more of a political selling point for the war in Afghanistan, showing how the country is slowly but surely modernizing and our efforts there have not been in vain. The fact that she wishes to stay here to avoid some sort of honor killing or other peril shows that things really haven’t changed all that much.

The idea that she wasn’t facing any danger (as Afghan officials claim) seems problematic at best. Back in March of 2015, after she was honored during a ceremony with First Lady Michelle Obama, the pilot was being interviewed and talked about the threats she faced both from the Taliban and her own family.

She shared the extreme pressure she is under with female pilots from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Rahmani said she has been subjected to multiple death threats from members of the Afghan military, people in her own country, the Taliban and eventually her extended family.

Her sister she said was beaten and is forbidden from seeing her own daughter. Her bother had to hide from gunfire while walking home from class one day. Her family has to move every couple of months to stay safe.

While serving in the military is something to be proud of, for Rahmani, there is a huge price to pay. “Being a female in the military is a shame for all family,” she said.

It’s not just the Taliban putting her in danger. The current government in Afghanistan is still ruled by people very much set in the old ways. One of the worst examples is Abdul Rashid Dostum. A former warlord, he’s now the Vice President of that nation and you should see what he’s been up to lately. (Washington Post)

Dostum has long been infamous for his cruelty: He has reportedly ordered tanks driven over enemies’ legs and been accused of suffocating hundreds of Taliban prisoners in sealed truck containers. He is also known for violent and abusive rages. But none of the accusations ever landed him in serious trouble. He was either too intimidating, or too important, to challenge.

But now, Dostum may have gone too far.

His latest alleged victim, a 63-year-old former provincial governor named Ahmad Ishchi, has accused Dostum on television of imprisoning him, beating him and ordering him raped in November; Ishchi has also submitted to medical tests at a U.S. military hospital. This time, Dostum, 62, is not a warlord but the first vice president of a government backed by the United States and Europe — a heartbeat away from replacing President Ashraf Ghani.

This is the reality of the nation that Niloofar Rahmani will be returning to if her request for asylum is denied. Their government and particularly their military remain mired in ancient, repressive culture, where pedophilia is openly embraced by military commanders and women are killed as punishment for being raped. Getting out of line and above your station – particularly for women – can be a death sentence. And to repeat the point, it’s not just the Taliban doing all of this.

I don’t know whether the final decision on this request will be handled by the Obama administration or Trump, but if we really honor the contributions of Ms. Rahmani as much as we claim to, her request should be approved. If we send her back there and she winds up dead, the blame won’t be placed entirely on people in Afghanistan.

Number of Refugees Arrested for Terror Higher than Reported

June 23, 2016

Number of Refugees Arrested for Terror Higher than Reported, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, June 23, 2016

Boston-Marathon-Bombing-Inset-Bombers-HPThe Tsarnaev brothers (inset) who committed the Boston bombings were in the U.S. because their father is an asylum-seeker; they are not even included in the count.(Photo: © Reuters)

The obvious conclusion from the fresh data is that counter-terrorism efforts should be laser-focused on immigration and screening policies, particularly in regards to Muslim countries that are terror hotbeds, since over 65% of cases involved foreigners who came to the United States.

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New data from the Senate Judiciary Committee reveals that 40 refugees have been arrested on terrorism-related charges since 9/11; a number far higher than the State Department’s previous estimate of a dozen.

Clarion Project reported in November 2015 that a little-noticed poll showed that 13% of Syrian refugees express favorable feelings towards the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). The Obama Administration plans to resettle between 8,000 and 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of this year. It is about half way towards that goal, having resettled about 4,000.

The new congressional numbers show that 580 individuals have been convicted on terrorism-related charges since 9/11, with 131 convictions happening since early 2014 when ISIS burst onto the scene.

Of the 580, at least 40 are refugees (a little less than 7 percent of the total) and 380 are foreign-born (65.5% of the total). The top countries of origin are Pakistan (by far), followed far behind by Somalia, Yemen, Colombia and Iraq.

The convicts are most commonly associated with Al-Qaeda or one of its branches. The second most common allegiance is to Hezbollah, followed by the Colombian FARC narco-terrorist group; Hamas; Lashker-a-Taiba; the Taliban (if you combine the Afghan and Pakistani branches); the Tamil Tigers; the United Self-Defense Forces of Columbia; ISIS and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The obvious conclusion from the fresh data is that counter-terrorism efforts should be laser-focused on immigration and screening policies, particularly in regards to Muslim countries that are terror hotbeds, since over 65% of cases involved foreigners who came to the United States.

That number doesn’t include convicts whose parents came into the U.S. and may have brought ideas that helped radicalize their children. A clear example is Orlando shooter Omar Mateen’s father, who has praised the Taliban and is now known to have served as an official in a Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist organization in 1997.

The Washington Post has also addressed some misconceptions and semantics games when it comes to the security issues surrounding the estimated 800,000 refugees who have come into America since 9/11. Counts of terror-linked refugees may not include asylum-seekers and their families who are in the U.S. but have not yet acquired the refugee label.

The Post mentions that the Tsarnaev brothers who committed the Boston bombings were in the U.S. because their father is an asylum-seeker and they are not included in the counts.

In addition, the aforementioned numbers do not include information about those arrested but not convicted and those under investigation. A senior FBI official said in 2013 that there are dozens of counter-terrorism investigations into refugee suspects. That was before the dramatic spike in radicalization sparked by the success of ISIS and its declaration of a caliphate.

As Clarion explained, the U.S. can benefit from accepting some properly-vetted Muslim refugees, including those from Syria. A ban on all Muslim immigration isn’t feasible (putting aside the moral question), but a vetting process aimed at detecting Islamists is. Such ideological vetting can help genuine moderate Muslims by identifying them and possibly expediting their processing.

Homeland Security whistleblower Philip Haney had great success in detecting extremists by tracking associations with Islamist movements and institutions until the overlapping extremism of political correctness and Islamism stopped him from continuing. Almost every time someone is arrested on terror-related charges, we hear about previous signs of extremism such as attending a radical mosque or a social media posting.

The new data shows that the majority of terrorist convicts come from foreign countries, and a small but worrisome percentage are refugees. It isn’t Islamophobic or bigoted to recognize the intersection between national security and immigration and make proper adjustments to reflect reality.

EU-Turkey Migrant Deal Unravels

May 18, 2016

EU-Turkey Migrant Deal Unravels, Gatestone InstituteSoeren Kern, May 18, 2016

♦ “It can be expected that, as soon as Turkish citizens will obtain visa-free entry to the EU, foreign nationals will start trying to obtain Turkish passports … or use the identities of Turkish citizens, or to obtain by fraud the Turkish citizenship. This possibility may attract not only irregular migrants, but also criminals or terrorists.” — Leaked European Commission report, quoted in theTelegraph, May 17, 2016.

♦ According to the Telegraph, the EU report adds that as a result of the deal, the Turkish mafia, which traffics vast volumes of drugs, sex slaves, illegal firearms and refugees into Europe, may undergo “direct territorial expansion towards the EU.”

♦ “If they make the wrong decision, we will send the refugees.” — Burhan Kuzu, senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

♦ Erdogan is now demanding that the EU immediately hand over three billion euros ($3.4 billion) so that Turkish authorities can spend it as they see fit. The EU insists that the funds be transferred through international aid agencies in accordance with strict rules on how the aid can be spent. This prompted Erdogan to accuse the EU of “mocking the dignity” of the Turkish nation.

The EU-Turkey migrant deal, designed to halt the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece, is falling apart just two months after it was reached. European officials are now looking for a back-up plan.

The March 18 deal was negotiated in great haste by European leaders desperate to gain control over a migration crisis in which more than one million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East poured into Europe in 2015.

European officials, who appear to have promised Turkey more than they can deliver, are increasingly divided over a crucial part of their end of the bargain: granting visa-free travel to Europe for Turkey’s 78 million citizens by the end of June.

At the same time, Turkey is digging in its heels, refusing to implement a key part of its end of the deal: bringing its anti-terrorism laws into line with EU standards so that they cannot be used to detain journalists and academics critical of the government.

A central turning point in the EU-Turkey deal was the May 5 resignation of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who lost a long-running power struggle with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Davutoglu was a key architect of the EU-Turkey deal and was also considered its guarantor.

On May 6, just one day after Davutoglu’s resignation, Erdogan warned European leaders that Turkey would not be narrowing its definition of terrorism: “When Turkey is under attack from terrorist organizations and the powers that support them directly, or indirectly, the EU is telling us to change the law on terrorism,” Erdogan said in Istanbul. “They say ‘I am going to abolish visas and this is the condition.’ I am sorry, we are going our way and you go yours.”

Erdogan insists that Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws are needed to fight Kurdish militants at home and Islamic State jihadists in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Human rights groups counter that Erdogan is becoming increasingly authoritarian and is using the legislation indiscriminately to silence dissent of him and his government.

European officials say that, according to the original deal, visa liberalization for Turkish citizens is conditioned on Turkey amending its anti-terror laws. Erdogan warns that if there is no visa-free travel by the end of June, he will reopen the migration floodgates on July 1. Such a move would allow potentially millions more migrants to pour into Greece.

European officials are now discussing a Plan B. On May 8, the German newspaper Bild reported on a confidential plan to house all migrants arriving from Turkey on Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. Public transportation to and from those islands to the Greek mainland would be cut off in order to prevent migrants from moving into other parts of the European Union.

Migrants would remain on the islands permanently while their asylum applications are being processed. Those whose asylum requests are denied would be deported back to their countries of origin or third countries deemed as “safe.”

The plan, which Bild reports is being discussed at the highest echelons of European power, would effectively turn parts of Greece into massive refugee camps for many years to come. It remains unclear whether Greek leaders will have any say in the matter. It is also unclear how Plan B would reduce the number of migrants flowing into Europe.

1607Thousands of newly arrived migrants, the vast majority of whom are men, crowd the platforms at Vienna West Railway Station on August 15, 2015 — a common scene in the summer and fall of 2015. (Image source: Bwag/Wikimedia Commons)

Speaking to the BBC News program, “World on the Move,” on May 16, Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of the British intelligence service MI6, warned that the number of migrants coming to Europe during the next five years could run into millions. This, he said, would reshape the continent’s geopolitical landscape: “If Europe cannot act together to persuade a significant majority of its citizens that it can gain control of its migratory crisis then the EU will find itself at the mercy of a populist uprising, which is already stirring.”

Dearlove also warned against allowing millions of Turks visa-free access to the EU, describing the EU plan as “perverse, like storing gasoline next to the fire we’re trying to extinguish.”

On May 17, the Telegraph published the details of a leaked report from the European Commission, the powerful administrative arm of the European Union. The report warns that opening Europe’s borders to 78 million Turks would increase the risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union. The report states:

“It can be expected that, as soon as Turkish citizens will obtain visa-free entry to the EU, foreign nationals will start trying to obtain Turkish passports in order to pretend to be Turkish citizens and enter the EU visa free, or use the identities of Turkish citizens, or to obtain by fraud the Turkish citizenship. This possibility may attract not only irregular migrants, but also criminals or terrorists.”

According to the Telegraph, the report adds that as a result of the deal, the Turkish mafia, which traffics vast volumes of drugs, sex slaves, illegal firearms and refugees into Europe, may undergo “direct territorial expansion towards the EU.” The report warns: “Suspect individuals being allowed to travel to the Schengen territory without the need to go through a visa request procedure would have a greater ability to enter the EU without being noticed.”

While the EU privately admits that the visa waiver would increase the risk to European security, in public the EU has recommended that the deal be approved.

On May 4, the European Commission announced that Turkey has met most of the 72 “benchmarks of the roadmap” needed to qualify for the visa waiver. The remaining five conditions concern the fight against corruption, judicial cooperation with EU member states, deeper ties with the European law-enforcement agency Europol, data protection and anti-terrorism legislation.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said:

“Turkey has made impressive progress, particularly in recent weeks, on meeting the benchmarks of its visa liberalization roadmap…. This is why we are putting a proposal on the table which opens the way for the European Parliament and the Member States to decide to lift visa requirements, once the benchmarks have been met.”

In order for the visa waiver to take effect, it must be approved by the national parliaments of the EU member states, as well as the European Parliament.

Ahead of a May 18 debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg over Turkey’s progress in fulfilling requirements for visa liberalization, Burhan Kuzu, a senior adviser to Erdogan, warned the European Parliament that it had an “important choice” to make.

In a Twitter message, Kuzu wrote: “If they make the wrong decision, we will send the refugees.” In a subsequent telephone interview with Bloomberg, he added: “If Turkey’s doors are opened, Europe would be miserable.”

Meanwhile, Erdogan has placed yet another obstacle in the way of EU-Turkey deal. He is now demanding that the EU immediately hand over three billion euros ($3.4 billion) promised under the deal so that Turkish authorities can spend it as they see fit.

The EU insists that the funds be transferred through the United Nations and other international aid agencies in accordance with strict rules on how the aid can be spent. That stance has prompted Erdogan to accuse the EU of “mocking the dignity” of the Turkish nation.

On May 10, Erdogan expressed anger at the glacial pace of the EU bureaucracy:

“This country [Turkey] is looking after three million refugees. What did they [the EU] say? We’ll give you €3 billion. Well, have they given us any of that money until now? No. They’re still stroking the ball around midfield. If you’re going to give it, just give it.

“These [EU] administrators come here, tour our [refugee] camps, then ask at the same time for more projects. Are you kidding us? What projects? We have 25 camps running. You’ve seen them. There is no such thing as a project. We’ve implemented them.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Fuat Oktay, head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the agency responsible for coordinating the country’s refugee response, accused European officials of being fixated on “bureaucracies, rules and procedures” and urged the European Commission to find a way around them.

The European Commission insists that it was made clear from the outset that most of the money must go to aid organizations: “Funding under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey supports refugees in the country. It is funding for refugees and not funding for Turkey.”

The migration crisis appears to be having political repercussions for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a leading proponent of the EU-Turkey deal. According to a new poll published by the German newsmagazine Cicero on May 10, two-thirds (64%) of Germans oppose a fourth term for Merkel, whose term ends in the fall of 2017.

In an interview with Welt am Sonntag, Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister-party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), blamed Merkel for enabling Erdogan’s blackmail: “I am not against talks with Turkey. But I think it is dangerous to be dependent upon Ankara.”

Sahra Wagenknecht of the Left Party accused Merkel of negotiating the EU-Turkey deal without involving her European partners: “The chancellor is responsible for Europe having become vulnerable to blackmail by the authoritarian Turkish regime.”

Cem Özdemir, leader of the Greens Party and the son of Turkish immigrants said: “The EU-Turkey deal has made Europe subject to Turkish blackmail. The chancellor bears significant responsibility for this state of affairs.”

The End Of The Multiculturalist Consensus In Europe

February 5, 2016

The End Of The Multiculturalist Consensus In Europe, Daily Caller, Michel Gurfinkiel, February 3, 2016

(Please see also, Latest Poll: Merkel in Free Fall, Germans Sensible; 76% of AfD Supporters OK with Genuine Refugees.  — DM)

One wonders why America, a nation of immigrants, can be suddenly so receptive to Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric. The best answer, so far, is that immigration does not seem to work any more the way it did, at least for certain groups of immigrants.

A similar situation has arisen in Europe. In 2009, the American journalist Christopher Caldwell famously characterized the changes that a massive non-European, non-Judeo-Christian, immigration was forcing over Europe as a “revolution.” We may now be on the brink of a counter-revolution, and that can be as violent and far-reaching as revolution itself.

Last year’s massacres in Paris (the attacks on satirical cartoonists and a kosher supermarket’s customers in January 2015, then the November 13 killing spree) were a tipping point : the French – and by extension, most Europeans — realized that unchecked immigration could lead to civil war.

Then there was the Christmas crisis in Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean. On December 24, a fire was activated at an immigrant-populated neighborhood in Ajaccio, the capital of Southern Corsica. As soon as the firemen arrived, they were attacked by local youths, Muslims of North African descent. Such ambushes have been part of French life for years. This time, however, the ethnic Corsicans retaliated; for four days, they rampaged through the Muslim neighborhoods, shouting Arabi Fora! (Get the Arabs out, in Corsican). One of Ajaccio’s five mosques was vandalized.

Then, there was the New Year’s crisis in Germany and other Northern European countries. On December 31, one to two thousand male Muslim immigrants and refugees swarmed the Banhofvorplatz in Cologne, a piazza located between the railway Central Station and the city’s iconic medieval cathedral. As it turned out during later in the evening and the night, they intended to “have fun”: to hunt, harass, or molest the “immodest” and presumably “easy” German women and girls who celebrated New Year’s Eve at the restaurants and bars nearby, or to steal their money. 766 complaints were lodged. Similar incidents took place in other German cities, like Hamburg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, as well as in Stockholm and Kalmar in Sweden, and Helsinki in Finland.

Here again, the local population reacted forcefully. Support for asylum seekers from the Middle East plummeted – 37 percent of Germans said that their view of them has “worsened,” and 62 percent said that there are “too many of them.” The Far Right demonstrated against immigration in many cities, but liberal-minded citizens were no less categorical. Le Monde, the French liberal newspaper, on January 20 quoted Cologne victims as saying, “Since 1945, we Germans have been scared to be charged with racism. Well, the blackmail is over by now.”

Indeed, postwar Europe, and Germany in particular, had been built upon the rejection of Hitler’s mad regime and everything it stood for. Nationalism, militarism, authoritarianism, and racism were out. Multinationalism, pacifism, hyperdemocracy, and multiculturalism were in. This simple, almost Manichean, logic is collapsing now – under the pressure of hard facts. Or rather the Europeans now understand that it was flawed in many ways from the very beginning, especially when it came to multiculturalism, the alleged antidote to racism.

What Europeans had in mind when they rejected racism in 1945 was essentially antisemitism. Today, the “correct” antiracist attitude would be to welcome non-European immigrants en masse and to allow them to keep their culture and their way of life, even it that would contradict basic European values. Hence last summer’s “migrants frenzy,” when the EU leadership in Brussels and major EU countries, including Angela Merkel’s Germany, decided to take in several millions of Middle East refugees overnight.
European public opinion is now awaking to a very different view. And the political class realizes that it must adjust – or be swept away.

European public opinion is now awaking to a very different view. And the political class realizes that it must adjust – or be swept away.

The Schengen regime – which allows free travel from one country to the other in most of the EU area – is being quietly suspended; every government in Europe is bringing back borders controls. The French socialist president François Hollande is now intent to strip disloyal immigrants and dual citizens of their French citizenship (a move that precipitated the resignation, on January 27, of his super-left-wing justice minister, Christiane Taubira). He is also hiring new personnel for the police and the army and even considering raising a citizens’ militia. Merkel now says that immigrants or refugees who do not abide by the law will be deported. Even Sweden, currently ruled by one of Europe’s most left-wing cabinets, has been tightening its very liberal laws on immigration and asylum.

Most Europeans agree with such steps. And wait for even more drastic measures.

 

 

Facebook’s War on Freedom of Speech

February 5, 2016

Facebook’s War on Freedom of Speech, Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, February 5, 2016

♦ Facebook is now removing speech that presumably almost everybody might decide is racist — along with speech that only someone at Facebook decides is “racist.”

♦ The sinister reality of a society in which the expression of majority opinion is being turned into a crime has already been seen across Europe. Just last week came reports of Dutch citizens being visited by the police and warned about posting anti-mass-immigration sentiments on social media.

♦ In lieu of violence, speech is one of the best ways for people to vent their feelings and frustrations. Remove the right to speak about your frustrations and only violence is left.

♦ The lid is being put on the pressure cooker at precisely the moment that the heat is being turned up. A true “initiative for civil courage” would explain to both Merkel and Zuckerberg that their policy can have only one possible result.

It was only a few weeks ago that Facebook was forced to back down when caught permitting anti-Israel postings, but censoring equivalent anti-Palestinian postings.

Now one of the most sinister stories of the past year was hardly even reported. In September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook at a UN development summit in New York. As they sat down, Chancellor Merkel’s microphone, still on, recorded Merkel asking Zuckerberg what could be done to stop anti-immigration postings being written on Facebook. She asked if it was something he was working on, and he assured her it was.

At the time, perhaps the most revealing aspect of this exchange was that the German Chancellor — at the very moment that her country was going through one of the most significant events in its post-war history — should have been spending any time worrying about how to stop public dislike of her policies being vented on social media. But now it appears that the discussion yielded consequential results.

Last month, Facebook launched what it called an “Initiative for civil courage online,” the aim of which, it claims, is to remove “hate speech” from Facebook — specifically by removing comments that “promote xenophobia.” Facebook is working with a unit of the publisher Bertelsmann, which aims to identify and then erase “racist” posts from the site. The work is intended particularly to focus on Facebook users in Germany. At the launch of the new initiative, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, explained that, “Hate speech has no place in our society — not even on the internet.” She went to say that, “Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence.” Of course, Facebook can do what it likes on its own website. What is troubling is what this organization of effort and muddled thinking reveals about what is going on in Europe.

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The mass movement of millions of people — from across Africa, the Middle East and further afield — into Europe has happened in record time and is a huge event in its history. As events in ParisCologne and Sweden have shown, it is also by no means a series of events only with positive connotations.

As well as being fearful of the security implications of allowing in millions of people whose identities, beliefs and intentions are unknown and — in such large numbers — unknowable, many Europeans are deeply concerned that this movement heralds an irreversible alteration in the fabric of their society. Many Europeans do not want to become a melting pot for the Middle East and Africa, but want to retain something of their own identities and traditions. Apparently, it is not just a minority who feel concern about this. Poll after poll shows a significant majority of the public in each and every European country opposed to immigration at anything like the current rate.

The sinister thing about what Facebook is doing is that it is now removing speech that presumably almost everybody might consider racist — along with speech that only someone at Facebook decides is “racist.”

And it just so happens to turn out that, lo and behold, this idea of “racist” speech appears to include anything critical of the EU’s current catastrophic immigration policy.

By deciding that “xenophobic” comment in reaction to the crisis is also “racist,” Facebook has made the view of the majority of the European people (who, it must be stressed, are opposed to Chancellor Merkel’s policies) into “racist” views, and so is condemning the majority of Europeans as “racist.” This is a policy that will do its part in pushing Europe into a disastrous future.

Because even if some of the speech Facebook is so scared of is in some way “xenophobic,” there are deep questions as to why such speech should be banned. In lieu of violence, speech is one of the best ways for people to vent their feelings and frustrations. Remove the right to speak about your frustrations, and only violence is left. Weimar Germany — to give just one example — was replete with hate-speech laws intended to limit speech the state did not like. These laws did nothing whatsoever to limit the rise of extremism; it only made martyrs out of those it pursued, and persuaded an even larger number of people that the time for talking was over.

The sinister reality of a society in which the expression of majority opinion is being turned into a crime has already been seen across Europe. Just last week, reports from the Netherlands told of Dutch citizens being visited by the police and warned about posting anti-mass-immigration sentiments on Twitter and other social media.

In this toxic mix, Facebook has now — knowingly or unknowingly — played its part. The lid is being put on the pressure cooker at precisely the moment that the heat is being turned up. A true “initiative for civil courage” would explain to both Merkel and Zuckerberg that their policy can have only one possible result.