A significant portion of the beginning of the CNN GOP debate Tuesday focused heavily on terrorism and threats posed by Syrian refugees and immigrants. Many of the candidates, like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, said its impossible to vet Syrian refugees because that would mean calling up corrupt leaders. Not only were the candidates exaggerating, but one tweet shows just why the GOP candidates shouldn't have been talking about refugees having the potential to pose terrorist threats.
The fear that Syrian refugees and immigrants were behind acts of terror began after the Paris terror attacks, when investigators said they found what appeared to be a Syrian passport near the Stade de France, one of the sites of the attacks, according to the New York Times. Later, investigators found that the passport was either fake or stolen and had probably been planted as part of ISIS' strategy to get the West to reject Syria, according to the Times. Regardless, that hasn't stopped some Republicans from demonizing refugees, who are fleeing war, and immigrants, who want to enter the U.S. legally to start new lives. During the beginning of the debate, Trump, Cruz, and Ben Carson, among others, continued to say that refugees and immigrants from Muslim-practicing countries shouldn't be able to enter the U.S. freely.
But, Ian Millhiser, the justice editor at Think Progress, had had enough of that crap. In one tweet, Millhiser perfectly summarized why the GOP candidates were focusing on the wrong issue:
Millhiser's statement is spot on for many reasons. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, when Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six staff members, an American kid has been killed by a gun every other day, according to NBC News. Since December 2012, 555 children under the age of 12 have died from gunshots. And, Rolling Stone found that 1.15 million people have been killed in gun-related incidents since John Lennon's death in 1980.
Despite these numbers, gun lobbying groups label any attempt to purchase weapons as an assault on Second Amendment rights. Last week, for example, Connecticut became the first state with plans to sign an executive order stopping people on federal terrorism watch lists from buying guns within the state, according to the New York Times.
Further, Kathleen Newland of the Migration Policy Institute cited research fewer refugees than U.S. citizens have launched attacks of terror against the U.S., according to Think Progress:
The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001. In those 14 years, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities — and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.
Millhiser's statement was brilliant for many reasons, but, most notably, it simplified one fact: the GOP candidates need to address gun violence, because it's not going away and it's only getting worse.
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