Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Putting the Extreme in Vetting


I’m the son of an immigrant and I know very little about immigration. My father came here from Hungary at the end of World War II. He came in on a ship through New Orleans (not everyone saw the Statue of Liberty) with a suitcase and a wooden crate that was 18” wide by 24” tall and 36” long.

He never talked much about what it was like to come here or what meant to become a US Citizen. I didn’t even know about the crate until after he passed  away. He never spoke Hungarian in the house (unless he hit his thumb with a hammer) and didn’t teach me Hungarian either. I never asked him why, but have always assumed he believed in assimilation, because he just wanted to be an American, not a Hungarian-American.

So I don’t know what he would have thought about “Extreme Vetting”. But it seems to me, that when it comes to who we allow to come into this country there are some pretty extreme positions coming from both sides.

If you were to ask those that are against whatever it is President Trump’s idea of vetting is what they believe will be on his “vetting questions” I believe they think it will be something like this:

Trump Extreme Vetting Questionnaire

Note: As you ask these questions stare menacingly at the “immigrant”. Make sure they know you mean business and if they hesitate in any way they must have something to hide; reject them immediately. They must answer no to every question but even if they do, go with your gut.

  1. Are you or do you know anyone that is a Muslim?
  2. Do you own a prayer mat?
  3. Do you know which way Mecca is?
  4. Do you like bacon?

If you were to ask the folks that support the Trump immigration policies what they people who oppose them would like their vetting questionnaire to look like they would tell you this.

People That Oppose Extreme Vetting Questionnaire

Note: Hold the hand of the person you are interviewing. Make sure you empathize with them and validate them as a human being. Your chance of approving someone that would actually do anything is virtually nonexistent. Remember, there are no right answers.

  1. What is your favorite color?
  2. Do you like kittens?
  3. How do you feel right now?
  4. Do you want to enter the United States?

As with everything political, the answer probably is somewhere in the middle ….

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